New Year, New Approach to Organization

“Time is really the only capital any human being has, and the one thing he can’t afford to waste.”
– American inventor Thomas Edison

Do you spend five minutes searching for a file folder? Or 10 minutes trying to reign in emails? Those minutes add up and can quickly erode your day.

Overall, I consider myself an organized person but several projects and additional responsibilities have led to a bit of clutter in my office so I’ve spent the past month diligently working to respond to (and delete) emails. I completed small tasks that needed to get done, but never rose to the priority list. I checked off items on the various lists I keep.

But with everyone returning to the office, how am I going to stay ahead (or at least not get behind)?

My VP and I were talking about this, and we’ve both committed to trying to send fewer emails. Our thought is that if we don’t send as many emails, we’ll receive fewer replies. Instead, we’ll hold more face to face conversations and touch base on several issues at one time.  

She also suggested using the task list in Outlook. I had never done that because I always liked having my lists. And yet, I would end up with multiple lists and sometimes would lose track of a due date, especially when I also was tracking assignments for team members.

So I’ve been trying the task list. One thing that helps is that when something is late, the font color changes to red – not something I like to see.

Now I start my day, not by reading emails, but by checking my calendar and my task list. Doing that allows me to get the critical items completed first. Once they are handled, I can move on to other items, including emails.

I’ve also placed items in labeled folder files. Those that I am currently working on are stacked neatly on the desk. Those that aren’t needed at the moment are placed in file drawers. My desk is neater, which allows me to find what I need more quickly. More importantly it sends a message to my brain that I’m in control.

In fact, according to Feng Shui (in its most simplistic terms it is the ancient Chinese art of placement and the flow of energy), clutter stimulates negative energy and should be kept to a minimum. By confronting clutter, you free up your mental energy and reinvigorate your work space.

With all the decluttering I’ve done, I’m definitely reinvigorated and have the energy for 2011.

What have you done to get organized?