How We are Organized

How We are Organized

How We Are Organized Is How We Are

How we are organized is how we are. So how you organize (or don’t organize) your inbox and calendar reflects and affects your mental framework.

Winter is ending.  All those reasons for inaction (“my fertile patience” as one soul-colleague complimented me) are disappearing.  What does your inbox look like? 

An Elegant Inbox

To the left is what my inbox looks like in its un-expanded version. The expanded version reveals clients’ names, which we don’t do. The only individual’s name visible is my sweetie’s. My other top-level focuses are equally clear: my three websites/centers of my work, plus my main client (Living Room Conversations). You also see the priority I give reading and writing. This is how RAISING CLARITY communication’s organized.  Period. (The top section is imposed on me by my email server. I’d delete “Templates” and “Send Later” if I could. I purge “Sent Items” every week. I keep two months’ worth of sent emails.)

You might wonder: where is the rest of it?  It’s not there. 

The Problem with Electronic Calendars

The technology most commonly used for calendaring has three unfortunate, cascading tendencies:

  1. Exquisite, intricate levels of detail
  2. Proliferation of detail
  3. Sprawl.

Healing Your Sprawl

One of RAISING CLARITY’s jobs is to help you meet and heal your sprawl. Inner sprawl and outer sprawl are mirrors.  Your inner is where we care the most, and focus first.  Your outer is how we reach the inner sometimes–like in this post.

Heal Your Inbox with These Questions

RAISING CLARITY treats our organization of these folders as if they really mattered. They do.  Our self-organization matters more than you do, and that is really saying something.  The way we organize makes serving you possible. So the names of the folders are carefully chosen. You can choose yours. Ask yourself:

  • How do I–naturally, intuitively–

    • access information?
    • remember things–for example, do I prefer to use quirky or straightforward or associative names for things to remind me what they are or what’s contained there?
  • how often do I naturally think to check in on things or with people?
  • how often do I need to be reminded to do so?
  • what are my self-reminding systems? are they intrusive? do they work for me? how can I improve them?
  • how could I improve my memory? (thoughts: rely less on automation, train it like a muscle, and at times, let it rest)
  • how much can I respond to–at one time, in one day, ever? what I can respond to = what I can be responsible for
  • how much quiet time do I need?
  • how much more quiet time do I really need?

“Memory” is a Lie

Note: Never do we automatically save an email. Yes, I know you gmail accountholders have “unlimited” memory, but do you?

It’s not that you don’t have enough inbox memory.  You have too much.  It’s seductive.  Be seduced by simplicity.

The inbox you see is not prettied up just for you. We go through it several times/day and either handle stuff immediately or set things into our Follow-up folders. What we can’t do now, we triage immediately into Follow-up, or Read. When I wrote this post originally, I was half-time, a single, homeschooling mom; I often had to be complete “for now” yet be able to find where I was easily when it was time to come back. (And I scheduled when to come back.)

Call your folders whatever you want.  Organize their hierarchy however you want.  Be creative–and be in charge.  No one else is in charge of your mind.  You are!  Welcome.

This may be mind-blowing enough for today.


PS: If you got something out of this post, you might also like  this one and this one.  Thanks!

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    Posted at 11:13h, 09 April Reply

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  • Beth
    Posted at 19:47h, 01 February Reply

    Another Tip: A lot of the time I notice I really have just one (1) thing to say back to someone who’s written me. And it feels too short or too simple. And then I try saying just that in my very short reply–and they are so relieved. Just what’s on top, when I’m mindful, is ENOUGH. Keeps me from putting off replying!

  • Avie
    Posted at 18:52h, 01 February Reply

    Wow – YES, this is mind-blowing enough for today & probably tomorrow , too! It is also perfect. Inner sprawl has overtaken my waking life and interferes with rest as well. Just having the suggestion of un-ticking the automatic save email option… brings a sigh of relief.

    Bringing consciousness to this level of organizing is welcomed. There are relationships I value, yet when correspondence is primarily through email, I’ve been dropping the ball. Emails that “I’ll get to tomorrow,” never get gotten to!

    I’m inspired by this encouraging role modeling, Beth! I just cleared hundreds, yes hundreds, of saved emails. Didn’t even flinch. And… have a much more clear sense of a few folks I desire to check in with.

    This is a springtime project I didn’t even know I was dying to do. Thank you!

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