Schedule It or Toss It

Did you ever have in your hand an invitation to an event, or a schedule of upcoming lectures, performances, or exhibits that sounded interesting but which you weren’t ready to commit to?

Chances are you added the invitation or schedule to a pile of paper on your desk, or put it somewhere in your file cabinet.  Months later, you came across it and said, “Oh, I’m really sorry I missed that”, and threw it out.

So what really happened here?

Veteran organizer Barbara Hemphill once said, “Clutter is postponed decisions.”  By refusing to make a decision about this event and putting the paper aside, you essentially turned that paper into clutter.  In the off chance that you discovered it again before the date had passed, you might have made a decision then, and maybe even gone and enjoyed it.  But most likely the opportunity was lost.

Here’s an alternate way to approach this.

You’ve got an invitation or schedule in your hand.  You look it over, then add the event to your calendar with a question mark or a “maybe” next to the name.  You file the paper in your file cabinet.  As the date approaches, you see it in your calendar, pull out the paper, and make a final decision.  If the answer is yes, you make arrangements to go.  If the answer is no, you recycle it.

Isn’t that much better time and paper management?

I’m not suggesting that you have to make a decision on every event the minute you hear about it.  What I am saying is that you need to decide when you are going to decide.  Putting it in your calendar as tentative is a way to remind you later that a decision still needs to be made.  If you are not going to plan when to decide, then you might as well just toss it now instead of leaving it to chance.

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