Did you know that Monday, January 11 is National Clean Off Your Desk Day? Is your desk buried under a stack of papers? Let’s liberate it from the clutter and turn you into the efficiency star in the office.
Grab the following items:
• The Trashcan,
• A Marker and
• If you can get away with it - some snappy music on your iPod to create the proper desk clearing mood.
One of the keys to keeping your papers straight is treating action items differently from reference items. Action items require you to do something. Common action categories are:
• To Pay
• To Call
• To Write/Email
• To Copy/Fax
• To Enter (as in data entry)
• To Read
• To Follow-up
My secret power categories are “To Follow-up” and “Future.” Items that need follow-up are currently being acted upon by someone else but for various reasons you may have a need to make sure that the action is completed satisfactorily. The real power behind the follow-up category is to make a note in your planner on a date you need to follow-up. Future is the place to store the items you need for an event in the future – like theater tickets. Use the marker to label some folders with action categories that apply to you.
Label additional folders with the names of your current projects. Papers will be filed in the appropriate project folders when there is no action needed on it and the information contained within it is not easily available elsewhere. So if a paper contains information that is available on a website, there may be very little need to keep it. The less you have to keep means the less you have to manage. Make good use of the trashcan.
Now you are ready to sort those papers into the folders and the trashcan. When you’re done, put the action folders in a vertical sorter or a slanted folder on your desktop. Put the project folders in the file drawer. Before you know it, your desk is cleaned off and you know exactly where all of your papers are.