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Clear out the clutter in your life

September 29, 2009

Source: flickr.com

Source: flickr.com

How many of us at the end of the day feel utterly spent, yet we don’t feel like we’ve made any real progress towards our goals?  We leave the office feeling frustrated and already worried about what tomorrow will bring?  This black hole of clutter and disorganization can be a difficult one to crawl out of, but there is a whole new world waiting for us when we finally decide to make the break.

I find, and I’m sure many people will agree, that half the battle of getting organized is getting started. It’s a well-known fact that if we simplify our lives, we save time.  In all honesty, who doesn’t want to be more efficient or have more free time to do the things we enjoy?

But just how much time will we save? US News and World Report recently demonstrated that the average American spends one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items at home and in the office.  One year!  Imagine what each one of us could accomplish in an entire year’s time. Why should we waste our time searching for the post-it note with the name and phone number we jotted down on it in haste (the one we meant to immediately file in our rolodex), or the 12-page budget email stream from a client that started over a month ago, or even our keys or sunglasses? Wouldn’t it be better to take a day or two now to get organized so we don’t lose valuable time in the future?  Sounds good to me!

 Here are a few basic tips to get started.  These are your everyday, run-of-the-mill tips, but maybe they will help get you jump-started on to the path of least resistance.

  • Straighten desk at the end of the day and especially at the end of the week so that you can start each morning with a clear desk.
  • Have a master to-do list for each day at your desk.
  • Return calls in batches.  Leave specific messages and the time you called if the person you’re trying to reach isn’t available.
  • Empty workspace of everything but the project you’re working on to cut down on distractions.
  • Do not over stuff folders.  It may be time to toss some of the information in the folder.
  • At the end of each project or event, organize paperwork (manually or electronically) and file or store it.
  • If you work with more than one person, create an in-box for each person.

Will these tips make us organizational superstars?  Probably not, but if you apply just a few of them to your everyday office routine, you just might be pleasantly surprised! If you have some tips you would like to share, we would love to hear them.

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