Tag Archives: David Allen

Pajama Pastimes

Pajamas: a loose-fitting garment, consisting of trousers and jacket, for sleeping or lounging.
Pastime: an activity that occupies one’s time pleasantly

No no. This isn’t that kind of blog, even though porn is a P-word.

A pajama pastime is when you get up in the morning, look out the window at the cold windy drizzle, consider your pulled pectoral muscle and decide you will NOT go to exercise class, and in fact you will not go anywhere. You’ll just putz around in pajamas all day.

That’s what I did yesterday and it was paradise.

I’m not a sloth, however. I spent most of the day at my desk plowing through papers, tossing, filing, re-organizing and re-labeling (with my precious P-Touch – see post two below).

If one is a paper person, as I am, this task should be done at least once a year. Usually I take a couple of days after Christmas for this project, but last year I was in California visiting my kids, and the year before that my kids were all here.

Of course someone who has the orderly mind and desk of David Allen would always be on top of things. HIS desk only has one piece of paper on it… the one he’s working with. I find this inconceivable.

SInce I trained as a feng shui consultant seven years ago, I know how cluttered my thinking gets if my desktop is cluttered, so I do get it cleared about once a month. Unfortunately the system breaks down in two places – more comes in than I have time to process, and my file system gets too full or out of date for current material to find a home.

By the time I went to bed last night my file drawers were conscious and current. I felt like a new woman. Today I can tackle what’s actually important…

P-Touch Power!

David Allen, the productivity guru and author of the perennial best-seller, Getting Things Done, recommends that followers of his organizing principles get themselves a little device known as the P-Touch labeler. It’s a hand-held battery-operated gizmo with a miniature QWERTYUIOP keyboard that produces crisp black letters on white sticky tape and can be used for affixing labels on just about anything, but especially file folders.

I have had the PT-65 (now replaced by the PT-80 or PT-1000) for several years.

One long weekend a few years ago I holed up with my P-Touch and labeled every single file (as well as a bunch of binders and boxes). Everything was so legible that they could be read at ten feet by a blind man.

My youngest son found my P-touch passion incredibly amusing. When I wasn’t looking one night, he made labels for other things around the house “refrigerator” “toilet” “closet” and even one for the cat: “Fritz” and himself: “Wylie”.

Oh, and he labeled the labeler “Nerd Mobile.”

I don’t mind being ridiculed – these labels keep in place the façade of order. Even if the file folders fill up with useless outmoded information over time I feel good when I open the drawer.

This week I did clutter-clearings for two separate clients, one new, and the other a return visit. When I first walked into the new client’s home I was wondering what the problem was. The entry way, living room, dining room, master bedroom and bath were spare and in perfect order.

But then we entered the family room. The big round coffee table was heaped with books, papers and exercise DVDs. The couch was similarly covered.

“I like to work here because I don’t really like my office,” she said. “I just feel less scattered here.”

So then we went into her office.

No wonder she felt scattered! Paper everywhere. Piles on the floor, piles on the table, piles nearly burying her computer. One corner was filled with boxes of photos, clippings for future collages, and magazines to be clipped for future collages. A basket held mail she hadn’t opened in a week.

I wish I could say that after two hours we made major headway. But she was so petrified by her piles that it took an hour of tea and talking for her even to touch the first pile.

Then I brought out the P-Touch. We labeled a few file folders with it and stood them upright in her file drawer. She was so happy.  Suddenly she could imagine order, control.

She’s buying her own P-Touch.

Yesterday I revisited a couple I’d seen before Christmas. Both of them had major paper issues. The husband got hooked on the P-Touch and has been tossing crap and labeling the rest ever since. The wife was finally willing to move ahead herself.

We talked about how she’d like her office to be once she was done, and with that vision in mind she became a tossing fool. We filled three big boxes with paper of every sort. Then we labeled a few files with her husband’s P-Touch. Another convert. She’s buying her OWN.

Brother should give me a commission.