Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Book about Doing Stuff

I see I never did quote the list of books I took with me to France and at this point I probably can't name them all.  I took copious notes from two of them, both about getting things done, but neither to do with David Allen.  I'm a real sucker for personal development books but, much like my watching an exercise video sitting in my house robe, I won't claim that I put a great deal of the theory into practice.

Much of Richard Templar's How to Get Stuff Done without Trying Too Hard is the common place stuff we all know, but I did learn a few new ideas, or at least thought about some things differently.  You might guess it was that last part that attracted me to choose this book...

Have a Routine.  Walk the dog at the same time each day, check emails after lunch, change the bed sheets on Sunday afternoon, etc.  The more routines, the less effort is involved in keeping track.  I know I have a small routine for housework which involves tidying the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, mainly about clearing surfaces.  When I'm 'in the zone' doing this, it is practically effortless because it's a habit.  I know how I want those rooms to look and so it's not hard to make them so.  (The rooms I've not figured how I want them to look, well, they don't fare so well).

Do Little and Often.  He talks about putting things away and doing filing before they build up into big jobs.  I've also found this to be helpful when tackling big jobs.  Lately I've been working in the garden, something I want to like but I'm not sure I do.  I don't seem to mind it once I get started though.  I've been trying to make this a follow up to a short run when I'm warmed up.  I put on wellies and water-proof trousers and gloves and work until I've gathered a set number of bags of debris, then I stop before I'm exhausted and fed up.  

How to Make a To-Do List.  The first three things on your list should be 1.  Something quick, 2. Something you'll enjoy, 3. Something you've already done.  With three things ticked off the list, the rest looks more do-able.  I've tried this once and it was fun.  On the other hand, another idea he has is Do the Worst Thing First.  Not nearly as much fun...

How to Tidy.  If your mother, like mine, had other priorities than housework perhaps his system would be helpful.  a) have a bin bag, b) do related objects first (all books put away, then clothes, toys, trash, etc.), c) do specific areas, ie floors, surfaces, each one at a time, d) make a pile of what you don't know what to do with and leave this to the last and make decisions, e) make a pile of things going to other rooms, one for each room, and tackle this last so as not to be distracted.  Do d and e together.   

Be Decisive about Mess.  He says if we were clear about what we were doing, when we were finished with things, what they were for, where they lived and so on, there'd be no clutter.  That's how all those 'busy but tidy' people do it...  How many times have I picked something up, dithered about where to put it and then put it down again without making any decision.  I'm gradually getting better at making decision.  This bit of Templar's book really hit me between the eyes.

Ditch the Eco-Guilt.  I have wasted a lot of my time trailing to the recycling bin with every tiny scrap of paper to be sure nothing is wasted - except of course for hours of my life.  We are lucky here in that paper, glass, old batteries, textiles, a lot of metals and plastics can go straight into a recycling bin that is collected every two weeks.  I've visited several landfill sites and the surrounding areas through my work and I saw an appalling amount of stuff that was probably still usable, had it not been junk to start with.  I try very hard not to add to Britain's landfill sites unnecessarily.  On the other hand, when I'm done with something and it's not appropriate for a charity shop (they throw away an awful lot of the stuff they are given), it needs to go into the trash and I need to just do that.


LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

I'm bad for starting a bunch of jobs, getting distracted and not finishing them until later (or ever!)

Shelley said...

LR - Yes, that is me as well. Staying focused when there is so much to do can be a challenge!