Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Great Sort

This arrangement of boxes is changing my life:

For as long as I can remember, I have had too much stuff for my available space, and too little sense of order to determine where to put things, with the result that a great deal of time has been wasted in losing things, finding them, and losing them again. Missing busses, deadlines and events because I couldn't find things. Stressing out because I couldn't find things. Sometimes nearly being brought to tears of frustration because I couldn't find things.

And the thing of it is, most of my stuff, my abundant and seemingly uncategorizable stuff, my precious-until-it-becomes useless - and useless-until-it-becomes-precious - stuff, is paper.

Notes. Letters. Invoices. Articles. I don't know what else.

The boxes are the Molotov cocktails I'm throwing at my piles of stuff, to blow those piles to bits in the most dramatically simple way possible: by imposing rudimentary order upon them.

Remember the Three Priorities, which I have abbreviated as "Christ, commerce, community?" I have translated them into three categories for filing.

Stuff that is relates purely to me (personal interests, personal finances, etc.) and my household is all subsumed under the general heading of Christ, because I am, as a member of Christ's body subsumed under the headship of Christ.

That stuff goes into the first box on the table.

Stuff that relates to one or more of my business enterprises - Homewood Capital Partners, Capital Synergies, Luminaria Productions, Legal Shield - all goes under the heading of Commerce, and into the second box on the table.

Then there's stuff relating to my civic life. Community. Third box on the table.

The box under the table? Trash.

And this is how those boxes are changing my life. I grab a pile of papers, I stand at my table, and I sort - sheet by sheet, page by page...Christ, Commerce, Community, Commerce, Commerce, Christ, Trash, Community, Trash...

Until the pile is gone.

Each box, after a certain number of piles have been dismantled, then contains a pile of its own. But they are no longer random piles. They are categorized piles.

The next step will be run those piles through a second sort in which each piece of paper is subject to one of three actions:

  1. Pitch it.
  2. Scan it, saving it to the appropriate subfolder under one of Priorities/Categories; then pitch it.
  3. Scan it, then file it.

For those pieces of paper that make it into physical file folders, I have a rudimentary whole-house filing system. Capital Synergies and Luminaria Productions stuff? First floor, front office. Homewood Capital Partners? First floor, back office. Household stuff? Second floor file box. Personal reading? Third floor.

It will not happen overnight, but I forsee a day when (dare I say it?) I will know where everything is.

Imagine the efficiency, the ease of functioning, the delight of not having to look for anything; of not being perplexed by the question of where to put anything new that comes in.

The prospect is darn near erotic.

What tricks or systems have you found helpful in bringing order out of the chaos of life?
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