Episteme

Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

Climbing back on the wagon

One of the most difficult things when you're trying to do life management well is sticking with the system. In fact, if you're at all like me, the real gurus out there are a little intimidating: reading the work of Merlin Mann, Jason Womack, Tim Gaden (not to mention David Allen) is pretty intimidating. Because none of them ever seem to have a day when their inbox isn't at zero or notes that they haven't processed.

And, perhaps that's true. But I know that, even with a really well-developed and well-maintained system, for me the hardest part is sticking to it or getting back on the wagon when I find my inbox at 60 messages and a pile of papers on my desk.

While I'd love to give a "tried and true" 5-minute solution to this problem, I don't have one yet. I've found that the real key is much the same as that for losing weight. (The associated mental issues are similar, too). It's ultimately simple: no matter how much it might hurt, you have to cut back on the input, and you just have to get up and get out the door to go to the gym. In this case, it's the same strategy - turn off the inputs, and throw yourself into it for however long it takes to get back to steady state.

Often, I have found that the sacrifice of a night or a weekend is part of the task - that's when it's easiest to turn things off. Saturday is going to be my day for that - I've got an "inbox" left over from the move (it's a completely full 2'x3' moving box full of papers, bills, and miscellaneous items that were collected during unpacking that need to be processed in some way). Saturday is going to involve me sitting on the floor in front of the filing cabinets with the inbox and the iTunes playing, and going through a full-day Get-Back-on-the-Wagon Dash.

Something tells me that Merlin and DA never end up with a 2'x3' inbox.

What's the biggest fall you've ever taken off of the Organization and Productivity Wagon?

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray