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Getting Organized: Improving Focus, Organization and Productivity Paperback – September 30, 2004
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About the Author
Chris Crouch has an impressive background in sales, sales management, training, and as an executive for a Fortune 500 company. However, his passion has always been reading, learning, and teaching. Among other topics, he has spent years researching and studying both the mental and physical aspects of living a more joyful and productive life. His goal is to find simple, easy-to-implement ideas that work in the real world. Chris regularly writes, speaks, and teaches on topics related to workplace productivity. He is president and founder of DME Training and Consulting, author of several books, and the developer of the GO System training course. He currently lives with his wife and youngest daughter in Memphis, Tenn.
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1. Discard or recycle
3. Take immediate action
4. Put in a reference file
5. File for follow-up
Now, for the follow-up, I am not convinced by the author's "Control Point Drawer". His suggestion is to have a huge number of files with different labels. If you follow this approach you will end up with over 50 files to keep track of. Many documents can belong to different categories, and you may find yourself looking in all 50 of them wondering where in the world you filed that piece of paper just when you need it badly. In my opinion, it is much more effective to scan as much paper as possible, keep it in your computer using a filing system that accomodates you and your line of business, and use one single To Do list in a spreadsheet that you can sort by date, category, etc. - as the author suggests in Chapter 41 "The Parable of the Spindle", although this method is downplayed in favour of the much cumbersome Control Point Drawer.
The final chapters are thrown in just as an afterthought in order to add some volume and pseudoscience to the book, like Personality Mismatches, Psychological Dysfunctions and Homeostasis Hump.
While the book has some useful ideas, I wouldn't rank it very high in a Getting Organised book list.
Getting organized is a major issue for many of us (I work two jobs, both of which require me to maintain an office). While one book may do it for some, I strongly believe that major habit changes will more likely come if you really plunge into an area like this. That means reading Crouch's book, Allen's book, and even Julie Morganstern's Organizing from the Inside Out. While Allen and Crouch focus on the office and home office (mail, home files, etc.), Morgenstern also covers garage, basement, closets, etc. I'm serious, to change the way you look at things, you need to read several books and make yourself an "expert." Otherwise, it will be a book you read that you're not likely to act on.
I read them in the order of 1) Allen, 2) Morgenstern and 3) Crouch. If any readers will choose to read all three of these, I'd recommend Crouch first, then Allen, then Morgenstern. Crouch will lure you in with his short little chapters (once you get past his too many introductory-type chapters before you get into the good stuff). Then, reinforce what you learn by reading a lot of overlapping stuff in Allen's book, but Allen will give you an outline or framework that ties it all together. Then, move on from the office to your closets and garage with Morgenstern. Of the three, Allen was the best for me, but I needed the others to sustain my momentum. Good luck!