I is for IdeasLet’s continue with our exploration of the serious and lighter sides of organising with a wander through the alphabet with The A to Z of Organising.

Catch up on previous posts here:

Now it’s time to explore the organising world with I.

Ideas – Clever creative minds are wonderful ideas machines. But they are not always good at harnessing those ideas, curating the best and putting them into action. If you have an abundance of ideas, congratulations! Here are some ideas for how to manage that fertile crop.

  1. Have a place to store your ideas. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I prefer to store my ideas digitally, which makes them easy to search for by key word. But if you prefer scrawled notes on paper, or a notebook, that works well too. Just keep all your ideas in one place. (I have recently bought a Rocketbook Core and plan to trial it for all my incoming ideas.)
  2. Have a process for filtering your ideas. Not all ideas are worthy of your time and resources. Some ideas will be “top priority”. Some will be “maybe one day”. Some will be “Yeah Nah”.
  3. If an idea has made it to “top priority”, that means it’s action time. Take a look at your calendar. When will you fit it into your schedule? What other resources do you need? What are the steps to bring your idea to life?

Inbox – How’s your inbox looking? I remember the very first email I sent. It was to a pen friend in London. We’d been handwriting letters back and forth for years. I would write, post the letter to the UK and it would take about a week to get there. Then my friend would reply, and the same amount of time elapsed on the journey to me. Then we got a computer, the internet was connected and I was ready to send my first email to her. I carefully crafted my letter, checked it over and hit Send with a big sigh. I turned to my husband who’d coached me through the process and asked, “When will it arrive?” He said, “It’s there already”, and my mind was blown. In those early days I looked forward to the “You’ve got mail” alert as much as I had enjoyed seeing the airmail letter and foreign stamps in my letterbox. However, these days email is not so exciting. I’ve tried aiming for “Inbox Zero” but as soon as I achieve it, another email arrives in my inbox, spoiling the achievement. It’s disheartening, so I don’t bother with that lofty goal anymore. I have set myself a more realistic goal and spend around 5 minutes a day working on that. This article about how I handle email might just help you – My Email Busting Tip – 5 weeks of email in just 60 minutes.

Independence – Good organising can help children become independent. If the things they need – school clothes, shoes, art supplies, lunchboxes and snacks – are reliably located in easy to access places, then children can dress themselves, entertain themselves, feed themselves and pack their own healthy school lunches. The same is true for adults. Having things conveniently located and easily accessed saves time and makes life run smoothly. And that all gives you greater independence.

Individual – There is no one size fits all in organising or in being organised. It’s all about customising systems and strategies to the individual needs of the client. Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes universal systems are absolutely necessary. A large corporation couldn’t run successfully with every employee “doing their own thing”. But even within the framework of a universal system there should be room for the individuals involved to have some flexibility to customise the system to work better for their own learning and communication styles. A long time ago I wrote this article – There’s more than one way to get organised – and it still holds true.

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