I have 15 questions for you today. And I know you might be thinking, “Why so many questions, April?”
But here’s the thing–there are 15 parts of the STEP Command Central, and the way you know if you need one is by how you answer these questions. 🙂
A STEP Command Central is like a car—you need all the PARTS in able for it to get you where you want to go. Today, I’m taking you through an informal “Command Central Quiz” so you’ll know if you have what you need to build your system and get totally out of the overwhelm.
The 15 questions come from the 15 parts of the Command Central, as pictured below:
Question #1: When you make a commitment to do something on a specific day, what do you do with that piece of information?
Let’s say you got your wedding ring repaired, and it’s going to be ready on Thursday. Or maybe you have a dentist appointment next Monday at 8am.
Do you keep those kinds of things in your head?
Do you write them on a sticky note?
Or do you record them on your calendar–either as an appointment or a flexible task?
THAT is where an optimal, mostly-open calendar comes into play.
Question #2: If you need to call a friend of yours sometime this week to discuss a potential business collaboration, how do you remember to do it?
Do you just keep it in your mind and plan to call next time you think of it?
Do you set some kind of an alert on your phone–and hope that when the alert pops up, you’ll have the time/energy to call?
Do you write it on a Context-Based Next Actions List–in the “phone” section, so you can make the call when time opens up?
Question #3: How do you deal with all the emails that come into your inbox?
Do you check your email often, and then let them just slide down the inbox as new ones come in–going back to hunt for any necessary required actions?
Do you leave emails unread–or star them–or use some kind of “snooze” feature to bring them back later?
Do you process them as you read them–using the 2-minute rule to respond, filing anything that is being kept for archive purposes, unsubscribing where appropriate, and moving things to an @Immediate Action folder if they need a few minutes to respond–and then getting that @Immediate Action folder to zero once a week?
Emails to Zero is seriously a game changer. 🙂
Question #4: Where do you put random papers, mail flyers, receipts, etc. that come to you during the day?
Do you stick them in piles all over the house and in your car and in your purse or briefcase?
Do you put some things on the fridge with magnets? Or on a bulletin board so you won’t forget them?
Or do you manage anything time-sensitive, add tasks to your calendar where needed (then storing the paper digitally or in your Support Cubbies), put anything that can wait until your Weekly Review into your inbox, and quickly scan/file anything else using the 2-minute rule?
With a STEP Command Central, you’ll have specific “landing spots” where physical items can be collected during the day, and then they’re quickly processed/added to the Inbox.
Question #5: If you know you need to really think through an item and make an important decision on it, where do you put that item?
In “the pile” on your desk?
Taped to your computer?
In a nice clean inbox that is processed to zero once a week?
The inbox is seriously a game changer. We often think we don’t need one because we’re doing flexible work or family-supporting work, but everyone needs one!
Question #6: How do you know which projects you’re working on this month?
Do you work on 50-100 projects at the same time, depending on what you feel like doing and what is top of mind?
Do you keep changing your focus because people keep handing you new things–or you keep getting new ideas?
Do you have a solid Current Projects List of 7-8 MAXIMUM projects, divided into “Me,” “My Family” and “Beyond” (meaning work/volunteer activities)?
Question #7: How do you remember what you need to do every day, week, month, year, etc.? Examples: Exercise 3 days a week, wash the car twice a month, complete data report each quarter, get the tires rotated, etc.
Do you type everything into an app and create repeating reminders–so every time you open your app, there are tons of red overdue dates?
Do you write everything down over and over on a daily to-do list and hope you won’t feel overwhelmed?
Do you have a solid Routines List, where you have all of your regular routines listed–ready to be reviewed once a week, with those you’re “working on” set up as reminders that will come to you as appropriate?
Question #8: Where do you put an item that is waiting for someone else to do something before you can move forward? Example: You returned something you purchased, and you’re waiting to make sure you got a refund.
Do you just hope you’ll remember?
Do you leave the receipt on your desk/fridge/top of your pile so you can keep looking at it until the refund is set?
Do you put the receipt into a waiting folder–with a calendar trigger set to remind you to follow up, if needed?
Question #9: How do you remember your goals?
Do you just think about them in your head and hope that they’ll happen?
Do you make a list of New Year’s Resolutions–and then lose that list somewhere in the pile?
Do you keep a central “Goal” sheet–with a system to review it regularly and create projects that will help you to get there?
Question #10: Where do you put magazines, catalogs, brochures, newsletters, etc.–whether paper or digital?
Do you leave them all over your home, office, car, bathroom, etc.?
Do you keep them in a big pile that keeps getting bigger?
Do you put them in a Read/Review basket (or digital folder), that’s kept in a handy place and cleaned out periodically so everything in there is needed and current?
Question #11: What do you do with items that need to be filed? Examples: Passport, tax forms, special keepsakes, manuals you want to keep, printed copies of insurance forms, etc.
Do you stick them on your desk–and maybe move them to the floor–keeping them in big piles?
Do you put them in a “To File” box–that never gets filed?
Do you have a simple system where you can easily digitize/file anything that doesn’t need to be kept as a physical copy–and a Freedom Filer or paper system that easily manages all of the paper items you want to keep–in a way that feels simple to maintain and basically “cleans itself”?
Question #12: What if you have a bunch of papers, notes, manuals, and physical items that go along with a current project or a current routine? Examples: You teach a class to teenagers, and you have a printed manual, special items you bring to the class, handouts, and other printed resources you regularly use.
Do you have them strewn all around your home and office, so when it’s time to use them, you have to go to 6 different places to gather what you need?
Do you stick them in a pile in the entryway of your home, so you can get them when you go to the class–but they end up covered with shoes, coats, and other people’s items?
Do you have a Support Cubby system, organized by category, where all of your resources can stay in one place, and you can find them within seconds?
Question #13: What if you need a specific piece of paper on a specific day in the future? Example: Your child has a special exam that requires a printed ticket two months from now.
Do you put it on the fridge with a magnet so you won’t forget to take it with you? (But it’s alongside 50 other things that you also don’t want to forget?)
Do you stick it on your desk pile? Tape it to the wall?
Do you put it in the appropriate monthly folder of your Tickler file–and set a calendar trigger to remind you to take it with you the day of the appointment?
Question #14: Let’s say you have an idea for something you want to do “someday.” Examples: Books you want to read, projects you’d like to complete, trips you want to take, movies you want to see, etc.
Do you hope you’ll remember those things?
Do you write the ideas down in a journal or book or digital note that you’ll probably never look back and review?
Do you add it to your digital or paper “Someday” list–organized by category–with calendar triggers for anything that you want to make sure you review by a certain date?
Question #15: What if you get an idea that you might want to pursue, but probably not? Same kinds of things as the “Someday” items, but you’re thinking it’s probably a “no”?
Do you throw it in the trash/forget about it because you probably won’t need it, but then you kind of worry that you missed an opportunity?
Do you set it in “the pile” just in case?
Do you put it in your Incubation File, but you don’t have to worry about it because you discard everything in there a few times a year (after a quick review), so it won’t take up space, if you don’t end up needing it?
Okay, you made it through the 15 questions!
And you’ve learned about the 15 components of the Command Central in the process! (Pictured below.)
Whenever I’ve done this exercise with friends of mine, it’s fun to see their eyes light up as they realize that there’s an easier way to handle the things that they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Usually, after we talk, they’re ready to build their STEP Command Central, and they want to get started right away.
When you don’t know there are options besides “the pile,” you typically just put things in “the pile.”
But if you know that there is a simple Command Central that will manage every detail of your life in a totally easy way, why WOULDN’T you want to build one? 🙂
Hope this is helpful!
Please check the links below to take the next step!
- Free Emails to Zero Training
- Sign up for our LearnDoBecome Newsletter
- Are you new to LearnDoBecome and the STEP Program? Click here for our free introductory training: How to Finally Stop Drowning in Piles.
- Ready to join our program and become a STEPper? This link has all of the information in one place for you!
- If you’ve been following along with LearnDoBecome for the last little while, now is the perfect time to become an ARISER! This membership is full of amazing community members that are using their Command Centrals to refine relationships, health, finances, individual purpose, and more. You can sign up for a free, 7-day trial here.
- Tip: You can also search “STEP Command Central” in the search bar of our website, and you will find lots of great podcasts and posts on this topic!