About a year ago, I had to take an online course for work, so I chose one about organizing your life/your home/your workspace because I’m obsessed with that kind of thing. One of the main tips for organizing is to consolidate your “gathering points,” which are those areas (not necessarily physical areas) where you dump all your stuff.
So your desk at home might be a gathering point, in addition to your desk at work, your car, your day planner, your shopping list, the to-do list app on your phone, and so on. (There was way more to the course than that, but the thing about the gathering points was what stuck in my mind.)
I use a lot of notebooks/planners/to-do lists, and I haven’t yet managed to consolidate them in a way that works for me. So I have three main “gathering points”: my planner for work; my planner for home, writing, and personal stuff; and my general notebook/journal in which I write whatever I want whenever I want. Some very smart people I work with have consolidated their work and home planners into one, and some other very smart people I know on the Internet have consolidated everything into one.
I’m not sure I would want to use just one notebook for everything because ironically, even though all my stuff would be in one place, it would still get lost. I have the worst handwriting in the galaxy, so it doesn’t lend itself well to glancing at a page and immediately seeing what’s there. I have to squint at it and wonder whether that squiggle is an “m” or an “n.” The easy solution to this problem would be to do away with notebooks altogether and keep everything in MS Outlook or some other software. But I’m attached to notebooks and pens and paper, so that’s not an option.
For a while, I was putting everything in my journal, and to organize it, I would use little symbols to denote whether each item was a to-do, a story idea, a blog idea, a general thought, and so on (sort of like bullet journaling, but less refined). That got too complicated after awhile, so I gave it up and went back to using my three notebooks/planners. As much as I would like to consolidate all my paper gathering points, I don’t think I could do it all in a single notebook. Combining my work and home planners would be easy, but I think I would always need a separate space for all the other random stuff my brain likes to throw at me.
How do you consolidate your stuff (or do you)?