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How to Get and Stay Organized

January 23, 2012

Five Tips to Help You Get and Stay Organized

I recently moved to a new house and feel like I will be unpacking for the next ten years.  I do not do well in messy surroundings and it is beginning to drive me crazy.  My home office is larger than in my previous house but does not have a closet so I am really struggling to find a place for everything.

As of today, I have given myself one week to have my office neat and tidy.  This is how I intend to do it.

  1. Get rid of what you don’t enjoy – most people will tell you to prioritize (I will do also but it’s my number 2 point not number 1).  I am going to suggest that you tackle what you dislike first so that it’s out of the way.  Some people call it ‘eating the frog first’. In my case it’s filing.  I’ve only just set up my office so I have a large back-log and can’t possible do it all in one day.  I will set aside 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon, every day, until it’s done.
  2. Prioritize the rest – Once you’ve taken care of any undesirable tasks it’s time to really get organized.  I am a list person and, if you’re not already, I suggest you become one.  It’s ok to store a limited amount of to-dos in your head but if you don’t write it down there’s a risk they will get lost or overlooked.  At work we use Basecamp to keep track of not only what needs to be done for our clients but also what each member of staff needs to do both long-term and on a daily basis.  I also keep a hand written list beside my computer of what I intend to get through each week.  I include deadlines, if necessary, and update it regularly.  It serves as a visual reminder and really helps me stay on track.
  3. Take a break – If you are up against a deadline and running out of time this might not be possible but under normal working conditions I highly recommend it.  If you break down your day into small sections it makes it feel far more manageable.  After each task get up from your desk and stretch your legs, get a drink or snack or check your personal email.  Make sure this conforms to the rules of your employment and don’t overdo it but I find it helps to clear my mind and keeps me motivated and enthusiastic.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up – Don’t worry if you slip up and become a little less organized than you would like.  Most of us are not naturally fastidious about being neat and tidy and we will all occasionally let things slip.  That’s ok.  Just pick up that nasty looking frog and take a bite then get back on track again.
  5. Make it a habit – We all have habits, some we like and should keep, and others we would like to change.  If you make your daily routine of staying organized a habit you will be able to do it without even thinking about it.  Everyone’s daily work load is different but we all know what is expected of us and what needs to get done.  By creating a routine, that you know you can follow, you will begin to see things fall into place.  Life always feels easier and less complicated when your surroundings are neat and tidy.  A few extra minutes each day and creating a routine will help you achieve this.

Good luck.

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