Next week we’ve got to get organised

Next week we’ve got to get organised

Next week we’ve got to get organised

A fallout from the rapidly changing technological world is the speed with which we have to adapt our basic disciplines of organisation and order. The neat file arrangement you have to ensure that someone else could access the vital matters they would need if you were no longer there has been thrown into chaos by the dreaded cloud.

And that is before we even know if the cloud is safe and reliable. Google tells us that it is the safest of storage systems. But they would say that, wouldn’t they?

Add the increasing concern over data protection to the availability and complexity of places to store your data and you are faced with stark choices – make it accessible to nobody or risk intrusion into your private affairs. Leaving your affairs in reasonable order is the least you can do in this VUCA world. Being able to do so in a system that is half-way intelligible is becoming a nightmare challenge. You probably had a nightmare about it recently.

Everyone’s life is different, thank goodness, and so guidelines on how to do this must necessarily be very flexible. There are, however, some basics that are worth considering if you are not to be remembered as Chaos Charlie. As with all good communication they start with what the reader’s position is, not the writer’s.

Devoted as I am to paper and tree conservation this is no time to practice abstinence from the printed page. All virtual media are susceptible to hacking, malfunction and a click too far. Keep the absolute basics up to date in hard copy in a safe – or at least a safe place. You cannot keep all your data in hard copy so back up your vitals regularly. The day you don’t, you will lose them.

[1] Start with access to your data. You will be two- and three-password protected. See your passwords are based on a simple but diverse set of keys. All passwords can be broken but this is a time to give thanks that you are not so rich that you need over-elaborate systems to stop a hacker at the point at which he realises it simply isn’t worth it.

[2] Open an Excel file called “Where Things Are”. If you can’t use Excel, learn to. Without it today you are dead. It is fairly idiot proof, at least for the purposes of a WTA file. Don’t go for complex systems. They are confidential risky and those who follow may not be familiar with them. Keep it simple – Word and Excel; Google docx and Google sheets.

[3] A perfect filing system requires your attention 24/7/365 and leaves you no time to live. You will have to compromise. Compartmentalise your life under a few simple headings. It’s not rocket science and we often help people do this as a starter project*. Each of us needs a personalised hierarchy of data, nothing complicated but a logical access sequence. If you keep it up to date, especially with those irritating things that need special care and always get specially lost, anyone you instruct to access your files will be able to do so. Even better, you will be able to do so yourself.

[4] Take a couple of hours to review “Where things are” every six months. Life gallops by, technology charges on, think READER and pretend you don’t know about you. If you keep this up to date you will sleep easy at night, help your loved ones to find their way around your interesting life and enable yourself to find what you need, when you need it.

This week you’ve got to get organised.

*Send flash saying “Help me get organised…urgently” to