Friday, January 28, 2011

On getting stuff straight

There are people that are super organized, always on the ball, have the super organized lives.  Well I'm not one of them.  Most people are a little too busy to worry about organization.  So I've developed a few tactics for getting organized and getting a little bit ahead.  I'm not necessarily talking about your office, just life in general.

Illustration via sxc user sraburton

1.  Find 15 minutes a day to get organized.

Whether its a matter of filing papers, picking up clothes off the floor or organizing your inbox, it all helps.

2.  Don't add to the mess.

When you bring new items into a cluttered area, take the time to put them away.  Even if you aren't done working through the old mess, it helps not to make it bigger.

3.  Once the area is straight, do something to clean it.

Dust off a desk, vacuum a floor, do something to clean a little.  If you do something to really clean more than just clear clutter, you'll be more likely to keep the area clean longer.

4.  Work on getting ahead.

One thing that I've found is that you have to be interested in being organized.  If you're behind, try to set aside 15 hours a week to work on catching yourself up on whatever it is.  Online classes, cleaning up clutter, anything!  Yes, this might tap into your "personal time" but your "personal time" is probably what got you behind to begin with.

5.  Go shopping!

While that may sound silly, it really is important!  This a two step process.  I find the easiest way to stay organized is to buy things that keep you interested in being organized.  If binders work, get them.  If its pretty folders, hanging tabs, whatever.  Buy it.  Sure, some of it may seem expensive, unnecessary, etc but if you think it will help in the long run, do it.

The second part is to reward yourself.  When the job is done, its important to reward yourself for the progress.  Go out for a nice dinner, get a manicure, something special.  I'm a firm believer in rewarding yourself when you do something well, otherwise you're likely to slip into old habits because there's no reason to preform the good habits.

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