Help! No space and too much clutter to implement the system...

ZeeGirl

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Hi there, new to GTD and really enjoying the book. I've gotten to the part about setting up and implementation and I feel a bit stuck.

Long story short, moved from a house to a small flat with my dad and we just have so much stuff. I've tried intense bouts of decluttering but my dad is resistant and there's only so much I can do on my own.

Me bedroom is small and my workspace is a fold out table - I don't know how I can implement the system. The idea of even buying more stuff like in trays is stressful because I just don't even know where to put it. Does anyone have any practical advice? Of course I'll be continuing my decluttering mission but in the meantime, I'd still really like to start implementing the system as a whole!

I know there are bits and pieces I can begin with but hoping to hear some success stories from others who have been in a similar position... Thank you!
 

TesTeq

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Me bedroom is small and my workspace is a fold out table - I don't know how I can implement the system. The idea of even buying more stuff like in trays is stressful because I just don't even know where to put it. Does anyone have any practical advice? Of course I'll be continuing my decluttering mission but in the meantime, I'd still really like to start implementing the system as a whole!
No, you don't have to buy anything. You can use any paper folder as your inbox. You can use a stack of paper folders as your project suport and reference documents library. And you can use one paper notebook for all your lists. Or - even better - your smartphone.
 

Oogiem

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Me bedroom is small and my workspace is a fold out table - I don't know how I can implement the system.
Why do you think you need more space? What tools do you have available right now? What do you use for a calendar? What do you use to trak things you are working on? How do you store paper files you need now? How do you store digital files? If you avhe to mail a letter wher does it goe before you get to the post office to mail it? If you have an appointment that you cannot miss wher do you document it? If you somehting like a paper ticket to a concert (ok pre-COVID maybe <G>) where would you put it so you can find it before you leave> What is your current system for tracikng what you have to do? Start with what you have and adopt the GTD philosophy. It's not the tools but the mindeset that matter for GTD. There are as many ways to implement the system that is GTD as there are people who want to use it to get things done.

For example. If you have a very small space but you have a backpack or a messenger bag or even a large purse that you carry and a smartphone or tablet of some sort I'd look at implementing capture with your phone or tablet, set up the context lists in a software package that runs on that device and maybe add a large envelope in your bag to handle incoming papers as an inbox. I'd get 1 small box big enough to hold a few manila file folders and start my paper reference that way. For an out basket I'd have another large envelope.

PS added the example

You must be doing something now so give us an idea of what is available to you and then we can offer more suggestions.
 
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ZeeGirl

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Why do you think you need more space? What tools do you have available right now? What do you use for a calendar? What do you use to trak things you are working on? How do you store paper files you need now? How do you store digital files? If you avhe to mail a letter wher does it goe before you get to the post office to mail it? If you have an appointment that you cannot miss wher do you document it? If you somehting like a paper ticket to a concert (ok pre-COVID maybe <G>) where would you put it so you can find it before you leave> What is your current system for tracikng what you have to do? Start with what you have and adopt the GTD philosophy. It's not the tools but the mindeset that matter for GTD. There are as many ways to implement the system that is GTD as there are people who want to use it to get things done.

For example. If you have a very small space but you have a backpack or a messenger bag or even a large purse that you carry and a smartphone or tablet of some sort I'd look at implementing capture with your phone or tablet, set up the context lists in a software package that runs on that device and maybe add a large envelope in your bag to handle incoming papers as an inbox. I'd get 1 small box big enough to hold a few manila file folders and start my paper reference that way. For an out basket I'd have another large envelope.

PS added the example

You must be doing something now so give us an idea of what is available to you and then we can offer more suggestions.
Just the fact that it sort of says in the book that you should have x, y z and space and collect everything and try to sort it all out and implement the system totally I guess... after having had the day to think about it I realise I can only do what I can do.

I'm fairly organised generally - I use a combination of todoist (which is where I capture my open loops, I update this weekly as I'll normally jot them down in my planner as it comes to me) and a paper planner (for appointments, calendars etc) and that works well for me but we have SO much paperwork that's been mish-mash filed - my dad's not great with paperwork and after mum passed away I guess he just did the shove away tactic... and I desperately want to get everything in order. The physical clutter is making my head feel cluttered and I think I just regularly feel a pretty big sense of overwhelm when I think about what it would take to actually deal with it all.
 

ZeeGirl

Registered
No, you don't have to buy anything. You can use any paper folder as your inbox. You can use a stack of paper folders as your project suport and reference documents library. And you can use one paper notebook for all your lists. Or - even better - your smartphone.
Thank you - I guess the lists in the book overwhelmed me a bit this morning in combination with the general feeling of overwhelm that I get when I think about dealing with filing :oops: But you're right, I just need to do what I can right now and adapt.
 

TesTeq

Registered
but we have SO much paperwork that's been mish-mash filed - my dad's not great with paperwork and after mum passed away I guess he just did the shove away tactic... and I desperately want to get everything in order. The physical clutter is making my head feel cluttered and I think I just regularly feel a pretty big sense of overwhelm when I think about what it would take to actually deal with it all.
I'm sorry for your loss.

But the good news is: IT'S A STANDARD BACKLOG! You cannot put it all in your inbox but you can create a Project "Family papers under control". Then, step by step, you can dig up some papers daily, put them into your inbox and then process them and organize according to the GTD methodology. Not easy but manageable within the GTD framework.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
[W]e have SO much paperwork that's been mish-mash filed - my dad's not great with paperwork and after mum passed away I guess he just did the shove away tactic... and I desperately want to get everything in order. The physical clutter is making my head feel cluttered and I think I just regularly feel a pretty big sense of overwhelm when I think about what it would take to actually deal with it all.
I want to echo what TesTeq was said and add my own experience. My father passed away about seven months after my mom, and a lot of his organization was in his head. It took me years to close the estate. I set up a separate “office” on a small table. I had a separate set of desk trays, and one plastic file container. In the end, I was able to deal with everything except some poorly documented assets for which the cost of recovery was prohibitive. It might help to think of getting stuff organized as a 1-2 year goal which drives projects. That might make it easier to organize and sequence and give you a sense of progress.
 

Oogiem

Registered
my dad's not great with paperwork and after mum passed away I guess he just did the shove away tactic... and I desperately want to get everything in order. The physical clutter is making my head feel cluttered and I think I just regularly feel a pretty big sense of overwhelm when I think about what it would take to actually deal with it all.
Sorry for your loss. I would call that all backlog. My mom died over 22 years ago and just today in fact I FINALLY finished unpacking the last box of misc stuff that had been stored when I handled her estate. Now I do still have a bunch of boxes of papers. All the estate paperwork was dealt with years ago but there are letters, diaries,things I want for my scrapbooks or genealogical information that are the next task to handle. They've been yorugh a sort aready and now they turn into project to deal with each class of stuff.

What I'd suggest is that you try to do one box a day or one file a day or one other small segment that works for you and evaluate and fully process each paper. Is it trash, something about the estate that needs to be handled? a memory or family history item that you want to save? Enlist your dadand don't overwhelm yourself. Do a bit each day and the mountain of clutter will eventually go away and the important bits will surface.

It is a lot easier to get a good start if you can do as the book suggests and spend a good bit of time up front really listing all your projects, all your ideas, all the things that are issues etc. Walk around the house with a pad of paper. I use the backs of calendars or a small 3x5 notebook and write down everything that is bothering you. Then I'd use the bed as a sorting table and sort the scraps of paper into logically related bits of tasks or ideas. Find a way to either put them into some sort of digital system or gather the papers into envelopes or file folders or whatever works for you. Then select what you plan to work on in the next relatively short timeframe and set a date and a non-negotiable appointment with yourself in a week to review everything and make changes as needed.

It's ok to have lots of things in your backlog of potential things to work on. I just finished a major revamp of my GTD system and I culled my someday/maybe list from over 1800 items to less than 900. I'd perrsonally rather collect too much than miss a good thought but I had a lot of junk in the S/M lists that just needed to goin the trash.
 

Gardener

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It's about decluttering, not GTD, but I want to mention the book Decluttering at the Speed of Life.

Edited to add: (Chapter 10 is titled "STEPS FOR WORKING THROUGH AN OVERWHELMING MESS" The word "overwhelm" appears 63 times in the book. I'm just saying.)
 
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