Quite simply put, piles are the result of either delayed decisions or delayed actions! If you want to avoid pile build up of papers, tasks, emails, etc then start making decisions on how to handle the information the first time you come across it. How many times have you looked through your mail whether paper or electronic only to just take a look and then leave the pile for another time? Problem is the pile will grow as you repeat this process every day until you feel a sense of overwhelm. Making decisions and taking action based on those decisions will give you a sense of control and alleviate those annoying piles!
I received a lovely thank you card from a friend and inside was a sweet story about acknowledging people committed to making a difference that I wanted to share as it provides a great lesson. “A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and spent much of his time exploring the seashore. One day he learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand. The day of the tide he went down to the beach and began picking up the stranded starfish and tossing them back into the sea. An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what he was doing. “I’m saving the starfish,” the boy proudly declared. When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish, he shook his head and said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach one way, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look down the beach the other way, it’s the same. One little boy like you isn’t going to make much of a difference.” The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up a starfish, tossed it into the ocean and said, “I sure made a difference for that one.” I googled the story to see who I should credit and found the story told a number of ways but it is most often attributed to Loren Eiseley and a book titled The Star Thrower. It is the little things in life that make a difference. And it is the little things you can do everyday that make a difference in your life and the lives of others. The lesson here can be applied to so many aspects of our lives. First don’t let others limit your ability. If you look at a project such as organizing your office as a whole it can be daunting and prevent you from starting but if you focus on just one piece of paper at a time you can put a dent in the project. A few minutes spent organizing each day can bring big results. Pick up your first “starfish” today….