There are SO many things to think about. (We get it!) But if your to-do list feels totally overwhelming, we’re here to help!
Several years ago, I compiled all my lists into a spreadsheet and ended up with a very impressive mass of ideas. It DID feel good to write everything down, but do you know what happened? I never even wanted to OPEN the spreadsheet. It literally made me sick to see so many tasks in one spot.
What MOST of us have been taught is to have some kind of calendar, some kind of to-do list, and then maybe a filing cabinet. “Everything else” ends up in piles (and typically, what we DO have organized feels incredibly overwhelming).
I know it sounds crazy to say that when you organize your mind, the piles of stuff go away, but it works. Over and over and over again. Once I learned the Getting Things Done® system, that “sick” feeling went away entirely. I have more on my plate now than ever, but not one ounce of stress related to those tasks (the stress comes in other forms!).
So what does it look like to organize your mind? Today we’re covering the three main ways we interact with our “stuff.”
- We Engage Daily
- We Engage Weekly
- Or We Engage As Needed
This information isn’t something random I invented for today’s post/podcast. It’s a tried-and-true system I’ve been using for more than a DECADE. (Video proof below!)
This is one of our original Mind Organization for Moms (MOM) videos, recorded when I first started teaching these principles. (Mind Organizations for Moms is the precursor to our current program, Steps to Everyday Productivity–or STEP.)
And here’s a video I recorded recently, quickly walking through the parts of a STEP Command Central:
Isn’t it fun to see how this has evolved through the years?
This is the first version of the diagram I created 10 years ago to help explain the concepts:
And then this is the updated version I created a few years ago when we launched Steps to Everyday Productivity.
STEP System Components
This simply represents all of the things that come to you during the day: mail, texts, social media messages, papers in backpacks, sticky notes, phone calls, etc.
(1) Calendar—paper or digital, where you record appointments or tasks that must be done that day.
(2) Context-Based Next Actions List—a paper or digital list you keep with you at all times that contains a short list of very specific Next Actions for that week–recorded in the following contexts:
- To Discuss
(3) Emails to Zero—using the folders and processes available in our free training (linked below!), you’ll keep an eye on incoming messages and respond as needed.
(4) Landing Spots—a consolidated list of places and things you’ll check each day to make sure nothing has slipped through the cracks.
(1) Inbox—a paper tray you keep right on your desk or in a central part of your work space.
(2) Current Projects List—a digital or paper list with (ideally 7-8) projects you are working on this month, divided into the following categories:
- For Me
- For My Family
- Beyond (the Home)—most often involves professional and/or volunteer work
(3) Routines and Responsibilities List—a digital or paper list containing regular routines in your life that need to happen daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and yearly.
(4) Waiting List—a digital or paper list where you record things you are waiting for others to do before you can move forward on a specific task or project.
(5) Goals—What do you want to learn? What do you plan to do? Who do you want to become? You’ll get the chance to review these ideas.
(6) Read and Review—A basket or file folder containing magazines, newsletters, manuals, grocery ads, etc. that are not deadline-driven, but that you would like to review in further detail when you have the time.
ENGAGE AS NEEDED:
(1) Filing Cabinet—long-term storage, mostly for reference.
(2) Support Material—this can be a set of cubbies, a series of file folders, and/or a collection of small boxes designed to hold materials related to your current projects or your regular routines.
(3) Tickler File—a small folder (or set of folders) that holds materials related to (and referenced on) a specific date on the calendar.
(4) Someday File—holds ideas you definitely want to do…someday.
(5) Incubation File—holds ideas you’re not sure you want to do, but which you’re not ready to throw away.
You know all those piles of papers sitting on your desk, or the thousands of emails in your inbox, or the swirl of ideas in your head? They ALL have a place in this system!!
For the tens of thousands of you already in our STEP program, this is all explained there, step by step….
And for those of you thinking, “I could benefit from an organized mind,” our free training will change your life.
We’ll show you how to create an optimal Current Projects List and Next Actions List, and you’ll feel EXCITED about conquering your piles of stuff by the end.
Excited for you to join the movement–click here to sign up!
We’ve created a totally free training to help you get your emails to zero–and keep them there–in 90 minutes or less. Come sign up and experience it for yourself!
Having a seamless system that hold your ideas, papers, thoughts, goals, tasks and “stuff” in a way that works WITH your brain–a STEP Command Central–is a game changer. Come learn what tools I use and love for each part of my STEP Command Central!
And here’s a video I recorded about using a Tickler and Google calendar to handle date-specific papers!
The principles we teach are based on David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. *You can find it here!
Christy Hynds says
Great Podcast. The more I listen the more I think I’m finially getting it and understanding the steps to take. Always look forward to your Pidcasts and love the step program. Thank you thank you thank you!
April Perry says
Can you hear this? I’m trying something new! https://www.evernote.com/shard/s14/sh/85615b0a-4842-4c7d-a3d3-311138d8eff0/26f558959c3ce7c15c96a2b1b8dec87d
Yes very cool. I love the Step program and I am working on the very beginning phase.
I’m not Christie but I was able to hear your reply from Evernote.
Frances Gibson says
do you have an index or a list of all the podcast, the radio programs, and articles. I spend so much time hunting for what I need to listen to again or to find for the first time that I feel I’m really wasting time. Thank you
Taryn Wood says
Frances, thanks for asking! We are working on an index. 🙂 In the meantime, you can utilize the search box here on the website. If you’re looking for something specific, feel free to reach out via email ([email protected]) or to ask inside the Facebook group. We’re thrilled to have you with us!
Where is the link for the tickler file video? I couldn’t find it. Thanks. Suzan
Taryn Wood says
Hi, Suzan! Thanks for asking. 🙂 You can find that here on YouTube https://youtu.be/APjggHWjG5I or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LearnDoBecome/videos/741132349652516/. Enjoy!