Yes, it's true my desk can get a bit messy from time to time. There are times when I am busy with too many projects that I have taken on all at once. I believe it happens as I tend to find so many points of interest I want to take up as I work to get two businesses off the ground simultaneously.
So, you may ask, how do I keep it under control, even if it's not always perfectly organized?
Well, to get started I separate my tasks into categories based on their urgency and their value. My own
creation of what I call Tiger Tables, which is based on the Time Matrix concept, works great for this task and lts me see where everything stands at one quick glance.
Then to supplement this I keep ongoing lists, such as "to do today, to buy, backburners and goals." I flex between these tools based on what I have going on at the moment and things that I want to possibly work on in future.
As well, in my personal finger ready system, which consists of a very handy portable document holder with document pockets, I keep the papers and information for the things on my lists and I also separate some tasks based on their "IPA" status. (IPA; meaning Income Producing Activities.) I have to thank my Mary Kay Director for that one, when I heard that expression I loved it.
The truth however is, that I don't always get to everything on my list. Some things just have to stay on backburner or get crossed off the list as I go, and that's fine with me. Yet, thanks to my weekly calendar planner and my lists and holders, I know my true commitments and where I need to be and when, and I very rarely lose anything of value.
When it comes to the paperwork and where to put everything, I have enough sorters and planners to hold everything and everything has a place. So even if it's not in its place all the time, when the time comes to quickly clean up, I can do it with relative ease.
So there you have it, my confession, my office space is not always tidy and I don't always get everything I want to do done. My systems are however functional for me and I know where things belong. To me, keeping it manageable is important.
Now when it comes to the rest of my home, this area is a little easier for me to stay on top of because past experiences have really helped me live as a minimalist. Such as when my fiancé and I staged our home recently and had to weed out just about everything we didn't need immediately at hand.
Another aspect which helped me keep down the physical clutter, especially clothes, shoes, trinkets and more is the fact that not too long ago in my life I worked very hard to get out of debt. This meant when my pay check came it when right into my debt not leaving any room in the budget for things I didn't need.
As well, when I was young I moved around a lot which meant I was always going through my possessions and didn't necessarily want to drag things around with me unless I really needed and used them. That has helped make it easier for me not to get stuck on too many physical possessions.
So, that's my reality and my wish is that in sharing it with you, you'll know that us organizers are people too and not perfectly organized all the time.
Ok, I can't speak for my fellow professionals yet I suspect many would agree that perhaps for some of us, although we have this passion for organizing and the mere sight of clutter gets us motivated there is always the need to apply these skills to our own lives and possessions as well.
Even a Rose Garden needs weeding once in a while.
So now that you have de-cluttered, made the hard choices and know what you want to keep, yet perhaps you are still struggling to find a space for everything, I ask, "Have you looked at your walls lately?"
For most people there is nothing higher than 5 feet in each room, which means there is a whole lot of space not being used to its "Higher" potential.
Consider using this space and maximizing your display and storage opportunities. Here are a few options to consider:
• Install shelves 12" to 20" below the ceiling to display collectible, hats, books or photos. (Ready made shelves and brackets are available at any local building supply store.) (Tip: Use sticky wax products to hold fragile items in place)
• Consider mounting shelves over the windows for items you enjoy looking at yet don't use that much.
• For those of you that plan to stay in your home for a while, consider investing in custom-made cabinets or shelves. If you shop around awhile I am sure you will find that there are plenty of cost effective solutions available that may work for you without making you feel like" Reach for the Sky" means you are about to be robbed.
• Another favourite of mine is the cubed wall units that you can find at stores like Ikea and more. They usually can be found with complementary baskets that fit in the cubes or can be placed on top of the unit. I like the modern look and the simplicity they offer.
Remember, the trick here is to go as high up as you can as well no matter what your style or budget.
Did you notice how at the start of this article I stated "So now that you have de-cluttered, made the hard choices and know what you want to keep, ..."?
If you are wondering why I didn't just suggest that you start making purchases for storage right from the start, without going through this step, let me explain...
I put started off on those terms because I wanted to point out that it is important to first go through the purging and sorting of your belongings prior to deciding on storage.
One of the biggest mistakes people can make is choosing containment too soon without knowing what their actual needs are. We can allow ourselves to get excited about organizing and rush out to buy an assortment of racks and bins just to get home and find out that we got too much, too little or the wrong size.
I want to close on the idea that it is best to sort and measure before you shop. Decide on what to keep, where to keep it and how much space you'll need. Also take into consideration your décor and what style will work best for your space to compliment your existing furniture and décor. Then take your list and measurements to the store so you can properly assess your needs and get the right solution for you.
Too many books, papers, articles and references than you know what to do with? Want to clear a little clutter? Here are 8 questions to determine what's safe to toss and 6 guidelines on what to keep.
Let's take a moment to consider how to make your life and work space better by eliminating the excess now.
First of all, just because things are interesting to you is not a good enough reason to keep them arround. For example, everything that could in theory be used at the right time under the right conditions, sometime between this very moment and the time you plan to retire from working, should be tossed. To help you determine what those items are, here are 8 questions to ask:
Grab any and all piles of papers, books, articles and references that you have been holding onto for reading and take each one in your hand as you ask yourself:
• Is it a duplicate of something I already have?
• Is it current and up-to-date?
• How often will I need to refer to this information?
• Is the information relevant to my work or life?
• Will it add something new to what I already have in my collection?
• Can I get it somewhere else should I need it?
• Do I have time to read this information?
• Do I need, or simply want this?
Be honest, be ruthless and make the decision now to toss what is safe to toss.
And now, what "Not to Toss..."
In addition to making decisions on what to toss, the following 6 guidelines are important to deciding on what not to toss, so carefully review these so you know when it is time to keep things too:
• Replication would be very difficult.
• There is only the one copy available.
• It is a vital piece of a project or client file.
• The document is your original creation.
• The information will be needed again soon.
• The law requires you to keep it.
On the last note, for items that you are required to keep for legal reasons I have found that there is a lot of good information on the web on that subject. Yet, if you run across something you're just not sure about, my advice is to speak with your accountant or other tax professional before making the final toss.
Tip: Remember to protect yourself. Shred documents containing personal date or confidential information on you or your company.