The Perils of ‘Saving It For Later’
If you’re anything like me, you will have a desktop that resembles a barren wasteland of hastily named Jpegs, ‘To Sort’ folders, and a trash can that hasn’t been emptied since 2009.
To the naked eye, it looks like I have some serious hoarding issues.
Who collects dating site logos, I mean, seriously?
I have a bunch of text files filled with nothing but numbers – future projections of traffic stats, conversion rates and earnings. They meant something at the time. But two weeks later, I’ll be damned if I can remember what my calculator was smoking.
Call it poor organization, call it a cluttered desktop, call it whatever the hell you want. I prefer to blame the perils of my worst enemy – the little voice in my head that says “Oh, nice. I’ll save that for later.”
How are your bookmarks doing?
If I had a dollar for every bookmark I’ve saved for future reference and never touched again, I’d probably sell this blog on Flippa, migrate to the Caribbean and never speak to any of you ever again. It’s insanity.
Just forraging through my links today, I found some genuinely very useful articles that could help my business moving forward… if it only it were 2009.
If I were to teleport in to your office and glance to the side of your keyboard and mouse, what would I find? If you’re like me, I’d find a notebook tainted by coffee stains. After picking it up and scanning through the pages, I’d find the 101 ‘light bulb moments’ that you scribbled down in excitement, only to bury under new pages never to be referenced again.
Let’s be real. ‘Saving it for later’ means you’re probably not going to see that shit ever again.
And that’s a shame, because it’s retaining the occasional light bulb moment that separates the creative minds from those who are equally creative but hopelessly inept at proving it outside their own heads.
How Can We Get Organised?
It’s quite simple.
If you are the kind of person who stores snippets of a thousand bright ideas, make sure you’re storing them somewhere that you’re going to reference, and act on from time to time.
Unless you set aside a specific time to venture in to your bookmarks, re-read what you’ve saved, and decide whether you want to act on it – the whole gesture is futile, a bloody stupid waste of time. Worthy of a slap in the tits.
The same applies to the notepad on your desk.
I am distancing myself from notepads altogether. They are a nice organization tool in theory – “Mhm, moleskin, I bet this changes my life!” – but in practice, as soon as you’ve turned the page, the scribbles might as well have jumped through the fire exit of your mind.
Instead of using a notepad, I’ve started to record my brainfarts on to post-it notes. This may come across as vapid, or slightly psychopathic, but it’s also very effective.
As soon as I’ve splurged the idea on to my post-it, I’ll drop it in a transparent box next to my Mac.
At the end of every day, or sporadically during the week when I’m having a downtime, I will empty the box and decide whether I want to save the idea for a future project (in which case it gets filed under Maybe Projects), or burn it while fisting myself in the bollocks for even contemplating the lunacy.
You could argue that replacing a notebook with post-it notes is a tiny change, and it is. But the principle has nothing to do with how you document your brainfarts. It has everything to do with remembering to set aside time to trace back and act on them.
Too many light bulb moments get lost in the back of notebooks that serve no purpose other than to make you feel organized. ‘Saving it for later’ only makes sense when your collection tool is not interchangeable with the trash can.
It’s something to remember as you click and drag your entire desktop contents in to a new ‘To Sort’ folder!
If your ‘To Sort’ folder runs six directories deep, your sorting skills probably extend only so far as fiddling with your balls on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. No shame in that, but it’s not particularly smart.
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I use cloud storage for all my old and new files. And my bookmarking toolbar is loaded with different sites…