One Bite at a Time: Project 21 {Organize Your Files}

Project 21, Organize Your Files, goes along so well with Project 17, Create an Essential Papers File, that working on the latter helped with the former.

And actually, our move last year helped quite a bit with this project too. As I got ready for us to move I worked very hard on purging the papers that had accumulated in the house. We had the file cabinet space so I hadn’t worried about culling things regularly until I thought about having to move those papers. The thought of having to carry it all was very motivating!

I’m still working through a bit of a backlog of papers that piled up post-baby and post-move, but overall I feel like creating the essential papers file was the main thing I needed to do related to my files, and other than that it’s just maintenance.

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One Bite at a Time: Project 19 {Dump Your Brain}

Project 19, Dump Your Brain, is a familiar one to this Getting Things Done fan.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need a reminder to move beyond knowing what I should do into actually doing it. Actually, that’s the overall theme for my working through this entire book.

So I started a new Master List, and wrote down everything I could think of that I needed to do. Big projects like “Make a Will.” Fun projects like “Plan Vacation.” Small projects like “Buy New Socks.” Important projects like “Finish Taxes.” I even reviewed a Trigger List to help make sure I’d caught everything.

They’re all listed. Now I just need to break them down into Next Actions and add them to my To Do list. Or my shopping list. ;)

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Review: Lighten Up

I’m a big fan of Peter Walsh from seeing him on TV helping families declutter their homes, and reading all of his books. He always questioned people as to their vision for their rooms/homes/lives and advised to hold to that vision as they made decisions as far as what to keep and what to discard.

In his latest book, Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with Less his focus is on the opportunity the current economic climate provides to reassess priorities: what truly matters in life (hint: it’s not stuff).

Part One of the book is an overview of moving from living with less to living with more – taking today’s economy as a chance to reevaluate and ask what’s your vision for your life.

Part Two is all about auditing your life as it is, and taking action to get it to where you want to be: personal, financial, and home.

Part Three is about taking what you’ve learned and maintaining it.

I found myself writing down numerous quotes from the book:

  • Does this item or thought or response move me closer to my vision for my best life?
  • Clutter (is) anything that stands between you and the vision you have for your best life – it’s so much more than just the stuff.
  • You can’t live your best life in a cluttered, messy, disorganized space.
  • Ten to fifteen short minutes can transform a life. (it all adds up!)
  • Pick a single, doable thing you can do differently that will move you closer to your vision.
  • Do justice to your memories. Honor them appropriately.
  • An organized life provides the foundation for whatever you want to accomplish.
  • Choose just one thing – one thing to change and let that one thing be your launch pad for further change.

I wasn’t expecting to find the financial audit and action section especially useful – it’s one area of life where I feel like we’ve got a pretty good handle on things and we’re on the right track. However, I’m still glad I read it because Walsh spends some time discussing opportunity cost which is something I’ve not always considered as much as I should.

The home audit and action section was where I expected and wanted to be inspired and I was. As much as I declutter and organize it seems like I turn around and it’s back to being cluttered and disorganized before I know it. Funnily enough, he even mentions that there’s a reason for that, and it’s called the second law of thermodynamics. A clean room will not stay that way and it has to be maintained. Since maintenance is much easier than a complete overhaul I need to stay on top of things and do the daily tasks that keep chaos at bay. He does mention that keeping the vision I have for the room/house/my life helps make maintenance tasks easier, and that makes sense.

I read so many of these sorts of books to reenergize myself to do what I know I need to do, and I find Walsh particularly motivating.

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