Its amazing how sometimes the simplest, most inconsequential questions can lead to thought provoking ideas.
“Where are the cuff links Mom?”
I stay in Noida so I was just visiting my parent’s home in Chandigarh and I had forgotten my cuff links in the Noida house. Anyways…
She instantly said, “They’re in the right corner of the top-left drawer of the master bedroom dressing table”. Within 20 seconds of asking the question, I had my Dad’s cuff links in my hand.
Seems like a simple story. But here’s where it gets interesting:
Upon further questioning, she told me that my Dad had never wore cuff links for over 20 years. We had shifted 3 houses in the last 2 decades and he had NEVER worn those cuff links.
I was baffled.
How does Mom know the exact location of those cuff links along with a thousand other items lying around the house?
I have difficulty finding my favourite tee most of the times, but she knew the exact location of an item that had never been used for YEARS.
What she said next is something that I have been pondering on for the last week:
“Whenever I keep something, I make sure if its used, its kept back in the same place. If its not used, then I know its in the same place where I had kept it. If its frequently used, even then the item goes back to the same place. Every item in this house has a specific location.”
Bravo Mom! Bravo!
You just gave me the greatest lesson in organizing. Who says you need an MBA when you have a mom, right?
There are several lessons that we can infer from this seemingly simple statement:
1) Organize your computer
My Mac was a mess. Literally thousands of files cluttered all over the place. Now I’ve organized my important files in specific folders. The lesser used files in another sub-folder. The files I haven’t used in a long time and won’t probably use, went in the Trash.
Due to the re-structuring of my Mac (which took a couple of hours), I now save about 5-10 minutes daily whenever I need to find/open/upload files.
I’ve also decided that all future files will also follow the same structure.
2) Organize your house
We may be geeks, but we still live, eat, take a bath, dress up, sleep etc. in a house.
That house needs to be organized.
Jeans in hangers. Tees in shelves. Shoes on the rack. You get my point.
If every item in your house is organized, and KEPT SO, then your house looks clean (which feels good) and its easier to locate the little things when you need them.
3) Organize your schedule
Some of my best work was achieved when I followed a specific schedule for a long time. I worked the optimum amount, slept properly, ate properly, and was able to accomplish goals.
The day-to-day critical tasks should be done when you wake up (replying to emails, reading your RSS feeds)
When you reach office, then don’t let anyone disturb you before lunch unless its absolutely urgent. Those 3-4 hours will let you finish your key tasks for the day because you will be able to FOCUS.
Meetings, random browsing, discussions etc. should be done a couple of hours before leaving office because you get burnt out by then.
Take a break for a few hours – exercise, play, watch tv, do your thing.
When its night, and everyone is sleeping, then you can focus on your passion. Like mine varies from marketing my products, to designing UI’s, to coding new things.
Organize your world. You’ll save time. You’ll increase productivity. You will be happy.