Four Steps to Clearing the Clutter (and getting your mind organized)
1. Pile it. This step may seem to go against everything you’ve ever heard about organizing, but it truly helps. Make piles first! Create neat piles by making groups of like items that are sprawled in your workspace such as paper, pens, redwells (love my lawyers!) and books.
2. Start sorting. Start by sorting everything except for paper one group at a time. Start with writing instruments and throw away anything that is broken, doesn’t work, or you just don’t like writing with. Once you are down to your pile of pens and pencils that work, determine how many you can keep based on your storage space. Only keep a few of each item and donate the rest! Because, do you really “need” all of those pens? Then, like the hair commercials say: rinse and repeat (with all other items in your office space).
3. Take a break, then hit the paper trail. Paper is the most difficult category to organize, so make sure you start with a clear mind. Divide all of your paper into categories that make sense to you. This may be invoices, bills, client files, upcoming projects, etc. Now that you have a bunch of smaller paper piles you can determine what you need to keep within each pile. Only keep what you need for tax, insurance or medical purposes.
See: http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Money/Personal-Finance/Managing-Household-Records.shtml for assistance. Only keep those papers still need to be acted on and other things that you truly need.
4. Time to create files. Create files based on your individual categories and then label with names that you are most likely to remember next time you go to file something. Saving files digitally is also a great way to cut down on paper clutter (many things we get in paper-bank statements, credit card statements, etc. are available online).
Then, when new paper comes in, determine if it should be tossed (most of it can!), filed or needs action. Next time you’re thinking about whether to file something, be tough. We only end up going back to about 20% of what we file!
Schedule the organizing appointment with yourself and then report back.
I want to hear if you implemented any of the four steps above and which ones worked for you!
Want to know more? Download my free “Is It Stress or Is It Burnout” strategy guide here. You can also learn about my speaking and training programs here.