Some people just don't understand the meaning of the word "organization." I confess, I may be one of them.
One thing that one should note about a person who has an efficient and stress-free workflow is that they always know where to find their work. An efficient worker doesn't need to do more work to discern what their work actually is. This is because an efficient worker sorts their work into buckets.
When we receive new "work," that goes into our inbox. For some of us, our "inbox" might simply be our desk. For others, it could be a folder or a back pack. Our work should not stay in our inbox, however. Our inboxes are simply places where we discern what kind of work something is, and then it should be moved to a smaller "bucket."
In David Allen's Getting Things Done, he proposes seven kinds of buckets (p. 142). They are:
The reason for sorting our work into these buckets is two fold. First, if our work is sorted, then we will know instantly what to do with each piece of information instantly. If I receive a piece of reference material, if I move it into a "reference bucket", then I won't have to constantly ask myself "what is this" like I would if it were simply laying in my inbox.
The second reason for sorting your work is that this way, you will be less apt to lose material and information in the midst of processing everything else. If I have material for a project I'm working on, if I have a designated place to put it, I won't lose it, nor will I have to think constantly about where it is. I can trust that it is in its place.
Here is another confession: I don't have buckets set up for all of these items yet. Currently, I have buckets for Calendar items, Reference Material, and Project Support Material. My Calendar items simply go onto my calendar, and that's that. My reference material, such as tax information and important paper work, is kept in a filing cabinet in my house. My project support material is carried in a plastic folder in my backpack.
I would like to say that I have a "Next Actions list," since I often will simply add my agenda items into my reminders app (now I use Due, and it's so much better). Since I do not have a physical space, however, for these action items, my system is not as efficient as it could be.