Following Allen’s five steps to mastering workflow, I now try to focus on this question of action and outcome and ask myself, “What is this paper really about?”
First, there is an order card for specialized cleaning products. Reflecting on this information, I decide that the cleaning products already in use work quite well, so I can make the informed decision to toss the card. To me, this is on a very different level than tossing it immediately without Reflection. Then there’s a little folder, describing the company history as well as all their cleaning products and services, with on the back a compilation of all their offerings together with the URLs, their phone numbers, links to online ordering pages and their company’s address.
Now follows the Organizing step, putting things where they need to go.I first Reflect on what information I may need some day in the future. I grab my mobile phone and on my TheSmarterPlace app go to my home, enter my kitchen, create the asset “range hood” and in the “Contacts” section enter the hotline and customer services’ phone numbers as well as the URL of their website.
Still on my asset “range hood” I scroll to “images” and take a snapshot of the front cover of the folder. I could get up and shoot an actual image in my kitchen, but I try to fuss as little as possible. Then I scroll to “documents” and take a scan of this page, summarizing all the services. According to Allen’s workflow diagram, this is reference material that does not need my engagement at the moment, but should be retrievable when required. Bingo!
And then there’s the last slip of paper, an elaborate how-to for changing the filters inside the cap. The service engineer had reminded me that for the ventilation to function reliably I should change these filters again in about four years time. A need to take action in four years? That seems an eternity away right now. What will life be like in four years, what will my kids do then, what will I do? But then I calm down because for an electronic device this is no reason for deep philosophical thought, it’s just a date at a certain point in the future.
And I Engage: On TheSmarterPlace app I enter a to-do for 5.5.2020 (!) and set a reminder for myself. In 2020 I will get a notification, I will have the phone number or URL to order new filters on hand. And because I now add a quick scan of this rather complicated looking how-to on filter exchange, I will not have to bother with customer service or search the internet to place all these cartridges in their right places, because, hey, who knows what will be in 4 years?
This process took much more time to describe than to execute; my coffee was still warm after completion, and I now feel I have this asset under control because I have taken all the necessary actions. Also, I have gained a little physical and psychical space. Imagine the freedom if you did this with all your home related papers!