By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated
Today’s clutter, as unassuming as it may seem, is tomorrow’s crisis waiting to happen. Be it a misplaced phone number, unpaid bill, or botched assignment, there is little worse than a headache that could have been prevented. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a clutter-free workspace.
Set aside time each day to take care of paperwork, such as opening incoming mail, refiling documents, and shredding items that contain personal information. These tasks quickly fall through the cracks of a busy day, and leave behind telltale piles of paper throughout your home office.
Taking immediate action on open items will prevent paper, and stress, from piling up on you. If you are unable to complete a task immediately, record it in your To Do list along with a due date. Create a Pending file for items that require further action. Note any actions you have taken in the file, then schedule some time in the future to follow up.
Store anything possible on your computer. A scanner is handy for filing documents electronically. Organizing data files into folders makes it easy to retrieve what you need, when you need it. Gone are the days of the sticky note. A PDA is a handy way to jot down any important information, not to mention schedule appointments, track your expenses, and store your To Do list. Be sure to back up your PDA and your computer regularly.
Set small, reasonable goals, then schedule a few minutes a day to achieve them. Try cleaning out one file drawer at a time, or clear out your inbox. If it’s not useful, throw it out. If you feel uncertain about tossing something, store it in a box and label it to be thrown out at a later date. If you still haven’t used the item by the date on the box, it’s not likely you will need it again. Taking small incremental steps will keep things moving in the right direction, off of your desk and out of the way.