4: The Truth About Cookie-Cutter Solutions
JoAnn Krall: Welcome to episode four of permission to be messy. I'm your host, JoAnn Krall. And today I'm going to be talking about the truth about cookie cutter solutions.
Have you heard of the touch it once rule? Maybe you've tried it and it didn't stick. The idea is to handle items only once and not shuffle them around from place to place.
It is great in theory, but it's not always easy or practical. So I tried to implement the, touch it once rule with my paperwork and it said to mark each paper with a red dot every time you touched it. Needless to say my papers looked like they had the measles. I am not somebody who will take a piece of paper, process it and file it.
Now while it would be great to train ourselves to do this with everything. Our natural way of working and life can get in the way. For example, it's highly unlikely that most people will open a bill, pay it right away and then file it. My husband does this, but then again, we talked about his socks in another episode. So he's very, structured when it comes to his organization.
But you know what? This doesn't mean that it's efficient or attainable for everybody because I personally don't like filing. Yep. I'm a professional organizer and a former accountant who specializes in paper and digital information management. I find no joy in filing papers. However I love. A really good filing system.
When I was, thinking about the touch it once rule way back, I thought, this is not going to work for me. So I started to apply the touch it the least I can rule. So instead of saying, I'm only going to touch this paper once I'm actually going to try to limit some of the steps that I was taking.
So my mail, for example, I bring my mail in every day and put it in one place. I do not process it right away. So that's the first touch. Then on the day that I'm going to process my mail, I take it and bring it to my desk. I open everything up. And then I sort it by whether it's bills or, stuff to recycle stuff to shred all of that. So that's the second touch.
And then for bills, there's bill paying day. I actually take the bill and I pay it. That's the third touch. And then the fourth touch is actually me putting it into a to be filed folder. This is how I work. I like to batch file. So instead of saying, okay, I'm going to file this phone bill in the phone bill file. I'm actually going to put it in to be filed.
Because I'm usually taking a stack of paper and I don't want to take the time to stop and file. So I put it in to be filed. And then when I'm ready to file, I file it.
If we were talking about physical items, you use something, you put it right away. Sometimes that's not always feasible because putting it away as in another room. And leaving the room that you're currently in. May distract you from something else. So oftentimes what I'll tell people is set it to the corner of the room.
So that when you leave the room, you can go put it away. So, where do I recommend using the touch it once rule? Anywhere, you think you can be successful. The places that I've actually been successful with the touch it once rule, even though it seems like more touches is laundry. I always done my laundry, folded it and put it right away.
Does that work for everybody? Nope, but that's one place I've been successful. So that helps me be more productive. I always hang my coat up when I come into the house, that is something that I've always done and I've always put my shoes away. However I have not always put my keys away. I usually in the past would dump my keys wherever my husband would say for me for years. Can you just hang your keys up?
It just didn't happen for me. It took me awhile. I'm much more successful doing that now, although there are still times when I just place them down. Another thing I always do is I always remove trash my car. The trash gets created in the car and it always gets removed when I leave.
Now let's talk about other cookie cutter solutions. There are so many organizing systems and products and planners and programs And many of them will tout that they work for everybody and that they are the end all solution for everything. And that just simply isn't true. When it comes to organizing, it's not true. And when it comes to anything in life, it's not true.
Think about a really good personal trainer or somebody who's created a fitness plan. Those people always have modifications for people who need them. And that should be the same for any organizing programs.
So I say runaway from any solution that says this will work for you. Follow it exactly as we have it laid out. We offer, you no modifications for your special needs or habits or lifestyle, or, you know what you have, everybody has different types of clutter.
Or basically, if anything just sounds too good to be true. I get ads every day on Facebook that says declutter your home in two weeks, guaranteed. Your entire home in two weeks guaranteed. Can anybody make a guarantee like that when we have everything from, minimal hoarder to a full-blown hoarder or, somebody who's just inherited a bunch of stuff from a family member. it just doesn't work that way.
I've had clients over the years say, I want to KonMari my house.
And I say, okay. we're going to go gather all of your clothes and we're going to dump them in one spot. Do you think that's going to make you feel okay because I've had people feel a lot of shame. And it has stopped them from doing any more work. I've had people say, I want to do, David, Allen's getting things done. Okay, we need to evaluate, what's worked for you in the past. What do you have? What are you trying to put into that system?
So as you're looking at systems and you're thinking, wow, that looks like it will be great for me. Really stop and think. Okay. Have I decluttered as much as I possibly can. And what has worked for me in the past and what hasn't worked for me? If you declutter as much as you possibly can. And I'm not saying you have to be a minimalist, but if you really only have what you need, what you truly need and what you love. You'll find that. Finding a system will be a lot easier.
So my message for you today is if you have tried over and over to get organized, And you've tried a bunch of different systems and they haven't worked for you. There is nothing wrong with you. Just need to do some more investigation as to what pieces of work for you and what happened. And why they've worked for you and why they haven't.
And knowing this will give you a really good foundation. To understand what may work for you in the future, what pieces you may need to take from certain systems. Maybe you need to create your own system and you might need help with that. And that's either by talking. With a professional organizer or even just a trusted friend. Having that outside source look in can really give you a lot of clarity.
So today and always I'm wishing you much productivity piece. Prosperity. And of course the permission to be messy.
Thanks for listening.