The first three steps of organizing your desk entailed setting up your action system and sorting through the piles. If you feel like it took along time to go through your papers, keep this thought in mind: a one-inch stack of paper contains about 50 sheets of paper and that can translate into 50 separate decisions. Congratulate your self on your tenacity for sticking with the job.
Step 4: Review your new to-dos and put things away. After a sorting session review everything that you wrote down on your master list.Take a look at the important tasks in particular. You want to make sure that anything urgent gets moved to a daily to-do list so you can take care of it right away. Think about when the important but none urgent tasks can be done, so you can schedule them in your calendar.
The review step is hugely important and it doesn’t take much effort. However, I find that people often skip the review and rely on their memory of what there is to do. Memory is fallible. By reviewing what is on your list to do you have the opportunity to prioritize your tasks so that things are much less likely to slip away from you. Prioritizing can only be done in the context of everything that needs to be done.
Look at your groups of items. Purge excess items and contain the rest. You may already have some little boxes or bins to organize your supplies. If not, take a look at the volume of each group of items so you can purchase what you need.
Put things away according to how frequently you use them. My motto is the easier it is to put something back, the more likely you are to put it back. Items that you use a lot need to be in very accessible handy areas. Items that don’t need to be accessed often can be placed in an area where it might take a few steps to get to.
Carry the box of items to be relocated around the house (or office) and return things where they belong. If you don’t have a permanent home for something, put it where it’s likely to be used. Leave the organizing of a different area for the future so you can save your organizing energy for your current project: your desk. Set up a time for the items to be taken to the charity.
Step 5: Maintain. Once you have uncovered your desktop, organized your drawers, and got your action system going, you will need to spend some time maintaining the order. The good news is it takes far less time to maintain organization than it does to create it. At the end of the day – everyday – it will take 5 to 15 minutes to
· put things away,
· create a daily to-do list for tomorrow,
· review your master list for items to initiate and schedule, and
· evaluate how things are working periodically and consider how you can tweak them.
Organization Is A Journey Rather Than A Destination
You might have noticed that we started this organizing process with evaluation and we ended with evaluation. The truth of the matter is successful organizing systems must be customized to your life. What works for you may not work for your neighbor and visa versa. Because we have different lifestyles, because we have different physical challenges, and because we process information differently, organizing systems will look different from person to person.
Additionally, within a lifetime our organizing needs change because our lives change. Systems that worked for me as a new college graduate did not work when I married. Systems that worked when I was a newlywed did not work when I was a new mother. Life changes, and when you take the time to evaluate and tweak you will be able to change your organizing systems accordingly. Maintenance is the key to staying organized, focused and effective.