I told Eric I wanted to record this podcast because I had a huge pile of papers that had built up over the past few weeks (way too much going on around here!).
When I invited him to be part of the recording, he said, “I don’t really have that much to add about processing papers.”
To which I responded, “But your desk looks beautiful right now. It’s totally clear and organized.”
And that’s when he explained that it was because we’d had guests in our home a week ago and he had hidden his piles in a closet. 🙂
If you have piles in your closets (or on your desk, or anywhere else in your life!) it can feel overwhelming! The magic of this podcast is being able to see what actually happens to the stuff that comes into your life. Yes, we need to delegate and delay tasks. But where do we put the papers that correspond to those tasks?
This post features one super simple way you could work through a pile–giving you space, the ability breathe, and a concrete method to create a life with zero piles.
We know everyone learns in different ways, so you can either read through the post, listen to the podcast linked at the top of the page (red audio player right below the featured image), or you can watch this five-minute video from our recent Q&A call.
I like to start by writing out the outcomes I’m looking for in my Weekly Review. In this case, I wanted to have a clean desk and inbox, an updated list of projects in Asana, my planner organized, a Next Actions list for this week, my email inbox to zero, and my computer desktop clear.
But when it came to clearing out my inbox, the stack of papers felt overwhelming.
So I chose to segment the pile, putting like things together so the pile would be easier to process.
I quickly realized that many of the papers simply needed to be put in other places: in the trash, closet, Freedom Filer, drawer, storage boxes, or Spencer’s room. I also had piles for my bookmark (to be put into my planner), papers that needed action, and papers to scan into Evernote.
I put away the piles of papers that needed to go to other places, then put business cards and phone numbers into Evernote.
What was left:
- Notebook to review from a conference: I added this to my Next Actions List and put the book in my Support Cubby.
- Blood test orders: I decided on a day to do my labs. There is no rush on this and a lot going on, so I created a calendar trigger for next week. The paperwork went into my Tickler.
- (2-min task) Card from my sister: I sent her a text to thank her and put the card in my keepsakes box.
- Coupons: I created a calendar trigger for the Container Store coupon (for office supplies) and put the coupon in my Support Cubby. The dog grooming coupon went to our van–I plan to use it in a couple of weeks.
- (2-min task) Post-it note from Alia about budget on school supplies: I logged the post-it in Evernote and threw it away.
- (2-min task) Another nice card: I sent a text and made a note about something else I want to do for the person on my Next Actions List. I filed the card in my special keepsakes box.
- Post-its from a mom meeting where I got some great feedback: I read through it. Then I put it in Evernote and made a couple of notes to discuss with the new Power of Moms leader.
- Blender registration: I realized I didn’t HAVE to fill it out. I threw it away!
- New note-taking guide for an online conference in 3 weeks: I put it in my Tickler and gave myself a calendar trigger.
- New family responsibility chart: This had several new ideas that I want to work on. I scheduled a task for Saturday and put it in my family cubby.
End result? No more piles–and a beautifully empty inbox!
Can you imagine what it would be like to get rid of all the piles in your life? And then do the same thing digitally–to have emails at zero and a clear computer desktop? That will make a world of difference.
This process of getting rid of piles just lights me up because it is not about the piles. It’s not about the stuff we have to do. It’s about getting our minds clear and calm so we can begin to think on a bigger scale. That’s when we can begin architecting our lives, making our family relationships stronger, and really waking up excited and going to bed content.
What is one pile or digital space that has been weighing on your mind?
Take some time to process that pile or space. Consider segmenting it by putting similar things together to make it easier to process.
We’d love to hear your wins! Come share your experience in the comments below!
If you haven’t yet attended our free class, “How to Stop Drowning in Piles,” we would love to teach you four simple steps to get out of overwhelm. Come join us by clicking here or on the image below!