est. reading time: 3:45 mins
The distinct ring-tone melody of my Thermomix® kitchen gadget rips me out of my reveries.
As I walk over to stop the – somewhat annoying – ringing, I muse about the fact that I actually don’t need a sophisticated machine like this (never mind the brand). I learned to cook from scratch and know how to prepare meals with a pan and a whip, a scraper, and a pair of hands. I don’t need that kitchen aid at all! – I can do it all by myself.
However, I also realise that thanks to that appliance in my kitchen I don’t have to re-do a whole set of actions anymore. I just put everything I need for the recipe in the machine, set the temperature, and the timer…. and get on with other things in my life.
I don’t need to set an alarm clock on my phone for when the cooking is done. The alarm on the Thermomix is annoying enough that I’m compelled to walk over and take care of my freshly cooked meal.
In short, once everything is in the appliance, I can forget about cooking. Completely.
I can use 100% of my brainpower to work, answer phone calls and emails, do homework with my kids all the while NOT wondering whether something smells burnt in the kitchen!
In GTD® terms, I delegate the task “cooking dinner” and then forget about it officially.
In many of my seminars when we talk about delegation, some participants say: “But I have no-one to delegate to!”
If that’s your perspective, you might want to re-think it. Because you can delegate in all directions. You don’t need direct reports; you can delegate to your boss, to your accountant, to the cleaning person, the dry-cleaner, etc. Delegation, in the way we understand it, happens in 180-degrees, not just downward.
Delegating is just one of the six things you can do with all the STUFF that you collected in your capture devices. And once you’ve made a decision about something you’ve captured, it probably makes its way into one of the elements of your organisational system.
Now most folks would probably consider that those elements are your reminder lists or, say, the places where you keep reference material.
But let’s think bigger picture for a moment. Back to the kitchen: let’s consider that your fridge might be a place where you need to make decisions. You might open the door and see a bunch of extremely flappy looking carrots. Definitely not actionable: trash.
You also might find a jar of cherries in port wine. The expiration date is in two years and you decide you might use them in the future. When you put them back in the fridge you’ve decided that the cherries are an example of someday/maybe resources – something you might make use of someday, but isn’t active at the moment.
Then you discover a pack of vacuum wrapped cheese you brought home from France on your last trip and you realize that trip was pre-Covid…. You take a picture of the label so that you can buy some more on your next trip to France. The cheese itself is trash, but you create a reminder in your system to buy some more when you’re next in France, using the picture as what we would call action support.
Next up are two slices of salami you put in the fridge last night. Hmm, no reason to deny yourself a quick snack. As you enjoy the salami you realise you’ve made use of the two-minute rule: any next action you can complete in two minutes or less you do in the moment.
You decide that some zucchini, the eggplant, and the tomatoes will be used for a Ratatouille that you plan on making for tomorrow evening. Those vegetables are examples of project support, which you’ll want to have to hand when you complete the project – tomorrow’s dinner.
Maybe you’d like to consider your fridge as part of your organisational system in the future. Like any element of your organisational system, you should regularly refresh its contents to make sure it offers optimal support to your productive self. And when you do that refreshing, keep in mind that the clarifying questions are a great way to decide what things mean to you.
On that. Bon appétit.