• James Walton

How to Eliminate the Waste of Looking

Ask yourself, where do I keep things like this?

If you can be consistent in answering that question, you'll have a better chance of getting to the content quickly. The time spent finding and retrieving the object/file/document/tool doesn't add value, only the having and utilizing the object/file/document/tool to solve a business need. 

Therefore, work hard to eliminate the waste of looking.

Work files will naturally go in the file infrastructure on your hard drive or network drive. But what about the notes you take in your meetings, or web articles you read that you’d like to recall later, or the research findings from books you’re reading? Again, apps like Trello and Evernote are custom built for these purposes and are incredibly effective. Here’s my go-to set of apps (all free!) for organizing all my stuff:

  • I use Trello to keep track of all my to-do lists. I also keep lists of people’s names I’m trying to remember, books I’ve been recommended to read, thoughts for blog posts, goal tracking for each quarter, and so on.

  • I use Evernote to keep track of upcoming meeting agendas and notes from those meetings, all my research notes from classes I’m taking or books I’m reading, etc.

  • I use Pocket to keep track of interesting web pages or articles that I can read later. I’ve got thousands of searchable articles in my pocket that means I never don’t have anything awesome to read.

Disclaimer: my StrengthsFinder report shows as my top two strengths, Input and Learner. So I have no choice but to be drawn to efficient systems of codifying and retrieving information. You are likely wired very differently.

Still, having a reliable, comprehensive system in place answers the question, “where did I put that?” If you’re consistent, then the answer is wherever you put things like that. Doing so help eliminates the waste of looking.


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