Friday, March 21, 2008

Organising workflow - I'm not neat but I'm organized

I'm not neat but I'm organized - Angela Yee

This is part 3. Click the tag at the bottom of this post to read the other parts in this series.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the workflow section. I love how Angela explains this and I'm going to be using it with my clients too because anyone can relate.


If you think of your paper flow as a little car and your decision-making process is like coming to a traffic light...

RED means stop - throw those papers away

ORANGE means wait - file those papers

GREEN means either show (delegate to someone else) or go (do the work yourself)

Now that's already really cool but then she breaks down the GO part further, and this part I LOVE!

  1. Scheduled tasks go on your calendar
  2. Unscheduled tasks go on your master to-do list
  3. And the urgent tasks you just DO if they'll only take 2 minutes
  4. the parking lot is where we put things for future projects (I liked this term so much I immediately renamed my existing email folder)

The reason why I LOVE this part so much is because we all try and put unscheduled tasks in our calendar (on our daily to-do list) and that's why we feel overwhelmed and unworthy when we don't get those things done.

Of course, you add some tasks from your master list to your daily list once you have the scheduled stuff on your list. And of course, if I'm coaching you :) , we'll always make sure at least 2 of those tasks move you towards your goals, so that you're effective and not just busy!

(I deal with all this in MUCH more detail in Help! I need more time)

Is it just me or do you also think the whole paper flow is explained just beautifully with this easy-to-understand analogy?

P.S. If you're on Facebook, you can check Angela's profile under my friends. There is a lovely picture of her beautiful face :)


annie said...

Hey Marcia.
Good thoughts, I tend to do this pretty much without thought. I love to throw things away... maybe too much!

Anonymous said...

I nearly completly agree with you. You mentioned "unscheduled tasks" (aka daily to do list). I find this very helpful. I prefer not to actually write them on my calendar though. I kinda like keeping a to do list online. It's convenient for me because we have a computer setup right next to our living room, so whenever I complete something I can just hop on there, and check it off. I started using this site called which is really targeted at these Daily To Do Lists and I found it helpful. Now you also talk about this Master List, vs. Daily List... i don't really understand the point of a master list?

Marcia said...

Hi Anonymous

I'm glad you wrote a comment.

Okay, a master to-do list has EVERYTHING you want to ever do :). Well, within reason. Basically, this list will have anything from 20 - 100 items on there. Now, I like a separate master to-do list for the House, Business and Personal.

Then your daily to-do list shouldn't really have more than 6 items on it. That's so you can get through it and you feel victorious every day, instead of overwhelmed :)

Marcia said...

I forgot to mention one other thing...

your master list differs in timing - it can have things you only want to get to next year, like on my House Master List, we have paint outside of house, buy new shower head, fix tile in kitchen, etc...the painting is something only for the end of the year while the shower head is something that can be done in a week's time. See?

jacki janse van rensburg said...

nice idea, will give it a try. i do tend to get ovewhelmed, so maybe your system will work.