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SORTED by Gillian Perkins: July’s Book of the Month

This month’s book review is ‘Sorted: Freedom through Structure’ by Gillian Perkins, an entrepreneur, speaker, author and writer from Oregon, who was a self-confessed sufferer of that common affliction ‘disorganisation’, so much so that her work and personal life was is disarray. She determined a method for taking back control and calls it S.O.R.T.E.D. the acronym stands for:
  • Summon,
  • Order,
  • Reclaim,
  • Transform,
  • Enjoy, and
  • Determine

These six steps may be used with every project, situation or aspect of life.
The following quote sums up the reasoning behind her guidance:

"Much of your happiness, success and direction in life are decided by how you manage the seemingly small aspects and day to day tasks.

Many of us use a ‘to-do’ list for getting organised but Gillian suggests that these just become longer and longer, causing stress and chaos and do not really get the heart of exactly what weighs our lives down.

SORTED is divided into three sections. Phase 1 is called Your Time: SORTED, and is all about your Daily and Weekly Routines, Phase 2 concerns the organisation of your possessions and finally Phase 3 is much broader and is entitled: ‘Your New Life: Sorted’.

Gillian is clear that whilst her process suits anyone, everyone will take very different amounts of time to accomplish each of the three phases. Taking time at each stage is crucial to a successful outcome.

Phase 1 may be easier for already organised, systematic people to put in place. I enjoyed the section on visualisation and imagining ‘the Perfect Day’. This is a technique coaches frequently employ to help clients focus on how they want their life to look and feel.

Phase 1 covers the processes involved in setting out your day to that every task has a time slot and every weekly activity is allocated to a specific day and time.
Gillian’s idea for a morning routine are taken from ‘The Miracle Morning‘ by Hal Elrod, a book I will be reviewing in the coming months. The steps in this ‘miracle morning’ use the acronym S.A.V.E.R.S – silence, affirmation, visualisation, exercise, reading and scribing. A tall order for anyone with young children but the miracle morning phenomenon is one which is sweeping the world.
The next two parts of Phase 1 are Work and Home routines. The section on Work is somewhat flawed for people who work in a traditional workplace, where your time is at the mercy of someone else or a system, such as a teacher or a bank clerk. It is aimed at the solopreneur or self-employed. The advice on the Home and Evening Routines are quite prescriptive so I would takes just what works for you from this part.
Gillian recommends listing weekly jobs in a planner and I’ve done this in the past when things were very hectic and it certainly helps with feeling overwhelmed with too many tasks.
Her tips regarding the evil of procrastination are worth a read and I couldn’t agree more that procrastination leads to lack of clarity, lack of urgency and ‘bad habits’. If you find a task being put off over and over again ask yourself this question: ‘What is the first thing I need to do to just get started?’ It may be that the first step is a simple piece of research. The main tool for the effective implementation of Phase 1 is a Planner.

Moving on to Phase 2 – Your Possessions: SORTED. With your list of daily and weekly tasks organised into a planner, it’s now time to turn to Phase 2. the main is to declutter.
"Clutter drains away at your energy and sucks away at your time
The aim is to through your possessions, category by category, reducing, recycling, giving away, selling, tidying and keeping it that way. The categories include clothing, linens and towels, paperwork and books, kitchen utensils and food, and so on. The accomplishment of Phase 2 seems daunting and may need to be broken down into small chunks. I don’t know about you but I would need a whole weekend just to go through all the DIY tools in my home!

In Phase 3, Your New Life: SORTED, Gillian turns to that much written about topic of goal setting and life planning and it’s this area which I felt required more depth.
One of the pieces of advice I really liked was the idea of claiming a few “nice to do” things and working towards these first using her process as this will help you to gain clarity. In achieving a small goal intentionally using the SORTED methodology you will gain confidence in tackling a larger, more audacious goal. For Phase 3 I would recommend using a ‘backwards engineering’ method expounded by Gary Vaynerchuk (search his podcast channel for the term) – start with the end result and work back noting down each step that needs to be carried out until you have a project plan.

In summary: ‘Sorted’ by Gillian Perkins is a quick, easy-to-read, logically laid out book with some great tips for making the most of every day, helping us find more time for doing the things we enjoy with the people we care about most of all.  All in all, highly recommended for anyone wishing to live a more fulfilled life.

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