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Sunday
Feb072016

What stops me from finding things quickly?

A question from Will:

“What stops me from finding things quickly?

I’m looking forwards to finding out what my answer to this question will be because I spend my life losing things!

So, as I don’t have any ready-made answers, I am going to have to go through the procedure outlined in Secrets of Productive People for finding answers to questions like this. So I start by writing “Finding things?” at the top of a new note in Evernote.

These are my first day’s thoughts:

Don’t lose them in the first place!
A place for everything and everything in its place
Knowing what to do with everything
Put things down mindfully
Keep a record of where you put important things

And my second day’s thoughts:

Electronic tagging
Tidiness
Tidying as a frequently recurring task
Routines, e.g. empty pockets when hanging up garments
Regular emptying of briefcase, handbag, etc.

Inspired by these thoughts, I am going to start taking some action. I think the key to this is tidiness, making sure that everything is in its place. That will definitely require some sorting first, but once I’ve got things sorted, I need to tidy several times a day. This basically consists of putting things back where they came from, with the result I hope that it will be much more difficult to mislay things, plus those articles which are in the wrong place will stand out.

There are some places where stuff tends to accumulate and remain hidden. These are places such as briefcases, pockets, handbags, backpacks and so on. I will institute a habit of emptying them out whenever I’ve used them.

[As well as “things” which get lost, there’s also a problem with paper. I already scan all of the paper I can into Evernote and I make sure it’s tagged so I can find it again. I have a clear filing system for everything that can’t be scanned. I also save webpages I want to be able find again to Evernote.]

If I didn’t have to have this post ready for today, I’d probably have done at least one more day of questioning.

Reader Comments (2)

I agree that tidiness and routines work best, certainly for me. After several attempts to find lost glasses, I decided enough was enough. Car and house keys hang on a hook by the front door, glasses (not on my face) have only three possible places to be put down.
I always empty coat pockets when coming in and empty the car on getting home. Work bags too. Handbag?...hmmm, working on that.
One thing I have got into a routine with is setting up 'saved' folders in my email program. I store online receipts, subscriptions, purchase details etc. in these. Because you can name the folders, it should be easy to locate the right one quickly and as I clear them out on a regular basis, easy to find what you are looking for.
February 7, 2016 at 16:25 | Unregistered CommenterSue
Most of my issues are with electronic filing, so my answers have a slightly different flavor and emphasis.

The one physical thing that regularly causes trouble is my glasses. They merge into the background, and there are so many places to look. A simple rule has helped considerably. I am trying to get into the habit of only putting them down on a plain, pale coloured surface.
February 8, 2016 at 9:42 | Unregistered CommenterWill

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