Wednesday, August 30, 2006

David Allen Status: the situation at home. Macon and I had a good talk on the telephone about where we are with our respective David Allen projects. He continues to work on that project, as I do. He has a colleague at his office who is working on such a project as well, so Macon gets some good reinforcement.

I am inching along, and am probably doing heretical things. But the main effort at home right now is a set of files in a lateral file cabinet in the garage, which files I have named "the David Allen files". (Macon and I talked about the situation at work as well, but that's for another post.) Each file folder consists of a manila file, which is labeled, and a "hanging" file folder which is not labeled and into which I place the manila folder. The file folders now take up two file drawers. They are mainly in straight alphabetical order. These files are mainly "reference" files, in David Allan's vernacular, and not project files. There are some project materials in some of the files. But right now, I am just trying to get all the pieces of paper that pile up and pile up relentlessly and put them somewhere, somewhere from which I can fetch them, if necessary. That's why I think I am a little heretical at this point, mixing reference and project files, but I have high hopes of becoming a true believer in deed as in word.

On the top of the file cabinet, I have an "in box". I drop into the in-box papers that need to be held in a David Allen file. Every couple of weeks, I go through the in-box and empty it, placing the papers in the appropriate David Allen file. Sometimes I already have such a file, but sometimes I have to make a new one for the item. (For example, we broke open the Honda generator box yesterday, as Ernesto was bearing down on us and I thought perhaps I should take a look at the thing. I took out the instruction manual, read it through, and then dropped it in the "in box". I will make up a file folder labeled "Generator".) This is really helpful in eliminating the piles of papers that so rapidly build up.

The first file folder in file drawer is the "Index" file, in which I keep a list the files. I'm usually behind in keeping the index up. But, overall, its working pretty well.

Carol and I came home at noon yesterday, because of Ernesto, and one of the things we did was go through all of the papers on our dining room table, which has become a sort of Grand Central Station for our house. (The house is full of stuff as a result of renovation. For example, we have no kitchen and all of that is in our dining room and living room and one of the bedrooms.) The stacks of papers on the dining room table had become depressing. For one thing, that's where Carol prepares the meals and where we eat, and we were running out of room. So we hatched a PLAN! We commandeered one of Mary's left-behind in-box/out-box contraptions, a two tiered thing, and assigned one tray or tier to Carol and one tray to me. If we see a piece of paper, mail or whatever, and it looks like the other of us needs to deal with it, then we drop it in the other's tray. If there is something in my tray then I may (a) put it in Carol's tray if I'm think she hasn't seen it (b) deal with it directly myself - maybe put it in the DA in-box on the file cabinet or, and this is my favorite, (c) throw it away!! We felt so good getting rid of those piles and knowing we had a PLAN.

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