The Monday Morning Clean Sweep

by Randy Murray on November 9, 2009

One of the downfalls of any organizing system is the sense of frustration and failure that can accumulate over time. Doesn’t matter what approach you follow, even the one I try to keep in shape with – Getting Things Done (GTD). Over time, the uncollected tasks mentally pile up. There’s always something nagging you, but you can’t remember what it was at the moment. You get a sense that you’re falling behind. Maybe it’s too much coffee and not enough sleep. Or maybe it’s the fear that you’ve missed something important.

I hate that feeling. That’s why I have a Monday routine. It’s not the first thing I do — not even close. It’s a Monday mid-morning routine. I get the day underway first see: Shape Of The Day and Getting Things Done. Usually around 10 A.M., I turn my attention to email, Facebook and Twitter, and THEN I reset my system.

This is the time to dig in and do the following:

Always make me feel good when I see this.

  1. Process my inbox to ZERO. I can’t describe how good it feels to look over at my inbox and see nothing in it.
  2. Review my day folder. Is there anything pressing for TODAY? I’ll also look ahead at the next week as well.
  3. Review my calendar for the week.
  4. Review my Next Actions folders – both the physical file folder and my email version.
  5. And finally, I try and remember and capture any other tasks I might have. Usually these are chores or “Honeydos” that I’ve thought of or been told in passing. There are fewer of these since I’ve been trying to capture them with my iPhone, which I usually have on me. Or I jot down a note as ideas occur to me on anything I can find, stuff it in my pocket and make sure it ends up in my inbox whenever I next walk by it.

This review, which usually takes less than 15 minutes, gives me a sense of calm and control. There may be a huge list of things to do, but I can see them organized before me. I’m more confident and prepared. And that’s the purpose of having an organizing technique in the first place. Don’t make it overly complex. Just a fresh start, every week.

Sometimes the amount of, well, stuff gets truly out of hand. When that happens, it’s time for a Dumpster Day. More on that tomorrow!

The Monday Morning Clean Sweep by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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  • GTD @ Home – An Inbox For Everyone « First Today, Then Tomorrow January 15, 2010

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