I was working with someone recently who is working on clearing her office piles and files. I’m sure many of us get stuck in the same way she does:
“My biggest obstacle is the slightly panicky feeling I get when I look around my office at either the file pile or the to-do piles or at the red emails in my inbox or the red light indicating “voicemail” on my
phone– I don’t follow the sign, “Keep Calm and Carry On”… I freak out and reach for snacks and distractions.”
As a result, her organizing progress has been slow, but actually rather steady. Here are three organizing strategies to help her…and you. These time-savers and prioritizers are so simple, you’ll smile when you read them, but they really do work!
1. Stay off the computer when you are organizing paper and files. Period. Even if it’s something you need to do on the computer, just make a note instead, and come back to the computer when you get another pile filed/sorted. If you are plagued by distractions, the computer is the worst place to be for most people. Stay in the real, physical world for the chunk of time that you are organizing paperwork, even if that’s only 10 or 15 minutes at a time.
2. Work left to right. Or work clockwise (it’s actually the same thing). I know, simple, right? It’s all the same priority right now, so just pick a direction and go with it. It really does work.
3. Celebrate your wins. Sometimes we are rushing through and work as hard as we can to get organized, and in most office jobs there is rarely (if ever) a time when you can feel “done” and “caught up.” So congratulate yourself being “done” with clearing one space, like just your desktop or just one side of the room, and look forward to the next “done” phase. It’s worth pausing to celebrate. There is probably no one else who knows this, or is going to take the time to congratulate you. But you and I know!!!
KEEP CALM and ORGANIZE ON!