This past week, I was in an office where someone asked me for a name off of a piece of paper we received. With a big smile, I remember scanning the paperwork and took my phone out to find it. Only to be embarrassed that I could not find it between Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
Where did I put it? What is the correct file name? I thought I was smart when I scanned it. This led me to deeply think about my problem. Having three or more places to “put stuff” failed me. Then there is a relationship between clarity and organization that wasn’t obvious to me until now. With certainty I could tell you that I scanned it. I had clarity. I knew, in advance, that the papers would be important to me. But there was little evidence of an effective personal organizing system for clarity to benefit me.
We use a hammer and a wrench in different ways. It’s easy to see this when trying to use the wrong tool. But for many of the cloud platforms, this differentiation is not as obvious. It depends more on the process and system (steps you take) to organize yourself and where they fit into your system rather than the tool or platform itself.
An example of a system around organizing yourself might involve pushing everything to one platform only. Standardizing a naming sequence for files. Offline, putting the mail, when first received, in the same spot to be looked at. Or bunching all the bills in one place at home to be paid.
Clarity has two sides. One side looks inward. The other outward. Knowing why or what we want to do involves the struggle to stop jumping at everything and narrowing your many wants and desires to a few meaningful achievable things. This is the inward piece that is very, very difficult. It takes a long time to understand that we can’t do everything.
The outward side of clarity is figuring out how to accomplish what we deeply want to do. To search & harvest, from a vast field of options and possibilities, those few things that are right for the situation. That we can implement successfully with the limited time and attention we have. You need both components, inward and outward, for clarity to be truly present in our lives.
My recent embarrassment has led me to better understand the interdependence of clarity and organization in predicting success and impact. Where did I put it, should be a question that slowly fades from your life with practice. Giving you the time and space to do more of the things that are important to you with a better chance to enjoy them as they more easily appear.