The clearing process is not restricted to the home or cottage during the summer. It needs to be done in your workplace to give you that renewed sense of balance in all areas of your life. Here is a process to help you get started….
Define the areas that you need to clear:
- your paper backlog – desk and surrounding area
- paper files
- e-mail inbox and sub-folders
- electronic files on your personal drive
- electronic files on your shared drive
- prioritize the areas above
- select your top priority
- block off time in your calendar – create one hour to three hour chunks of time
- set-up a reward at the end of the “clearing sessions” – heading out for lunch with a friend, take-out food pre-ordered or a glass of your favourite
- make sure you have any supplies or tools you will need organized ahead of time
- develop a system/structure for your paper and electronic records
- make a commitment to yourself and reinforce this commitment by telling someone else who will not let you procrastinate
- Now – DO IT!
See how great you feel, now apply this process to the next area.
Share your experiences. If you are having trouble getting started, email us, we will give you a boost!
Are you tired of looking for items you need? Starting today, begin asking yourself “Where will I find this?” instead of “Where shall I put this? This question works great for papers to be filed as well as for other items in the home or office. Words of wisdom from Marlo Nikkila that I totally agree with and have always put in practice for my clients to create their own unique organizational systems based on the way they think, not on the way I think!
Overwhelmed with the paper on your desk – perhaps all those “to do’s”? Have your New Year’s resolutions not delivered on their promises? I know not all mine did! If paper does not have a home to go to then it will create its own – a “Pile”! Even paper that just needs to be filed is a “To Do”. Our “BOS” (Business Organizational Solutions) approach recommends setting up a standard set of “to do” or “action” files based on your own unique business activities. If you are a piler, place these files in a visible place such as a desk top filing rack (so it is in plain view and you won’t forget about it) or if you are a “filer” then tuck them away in hanging folders in a desk drawer that is easy to access. Some of the action files you could choose to set up for your own system might be: File; Pay; Read; Research; Plan; Errand; Write; Input; Review or Call. Now, file away all those loose “to do” papers and feel confident that you will know where to find them when you need them. You can also use these categories to set up your electronic “To Do” or task list in Outlook so you are consistent with your approach across both paper and electronic documents. If you need a reminder to look at your “To Do’s” set up a reoccurring event in your Outlook calendar. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more about “BOS” and how you can conquer the piles.
While you put away the last few remnants from the holidays, remembering time with your family and friends with a smile on your face or perhaps a sense of relief that it is all over, you turn your mind to what’s next. Yikes….dealing with all of the paper, email and voicemail that have accumulated at work over the holidays. Overwhelm kicks in and the re-energizing you did over the holidays is draining away. Don’t despair, it can’t all be done in a day and if you try to do everything all at once you will get even more overwhelmed and end up not doing anything well.
Take a few minutes, a couple of deep breathes, and develop your “Fresh Start” plan. Identify what it is you need to deal with to get back on top of things. There are probably four categories – voicemail, email, paper and projects. Decide which category is the most important as not everything can be a priority one! Start working through each category systematically until you have dealt with all the high priority items in each group, then circle back and start the process again until you have caught up in each area.
As you work through all the items, you may not be able to do them right then and there. So you don’t get bogged down, and lose your momentum, set up a reminder so that you can forget about that item until the appropriate time and then immediately move on to the next item. There are three reminder systems that you could use. Choose the one that works best with your behaviour style:
- Task it in Outlook or other similar software. Don’t forget the reminder date and time, so you can forget about it until you need to deal with it. This option is great because you can drag and drop emails into tasks in seconds;
- Create a Pending folder (electronic or paper) and drop the paper or email into the folder. Don’t forget to revisit that Pending folder first thing each morning or at the end of each day to make sure you stay on top of your pending items;
- Create a “To Do List” either electronic or hard copy. This is my least favourite as “To Do” lists have to be re-written to keep them current. Consider moving to the electronic option referred to in 1. above.
Watch for more blog posts for more ideas on a “Fresh Start” for the New Year. We will be talking about managing email, setting up paper task files, procrastination and more. Interested in one on one or group training in email and/or paper management or managing effective meetings, contact me at email@example.com for more information about our in-person or on-line services. Happy New Year!