Sunday is traditionally known as the day of rest, the day we stay away from thoughts of work and revert our attention to more leisurely pursuits. The need for rest and relaxation and diversion away from stresses and strains of our busy working lives make Sunday a perfect day but….
That’s not quite how my Sunday worked out for me.
This Sunday I spent the best part of the day harvesting dead wood from my office, organising myself and planning. It had been a little while since I’d last re-organised but I’m now determined to stay on top of all things real (paper) and virtual (e-mails and digital files).
It is quite amazing how much “stuff” we accumulate and what we regard as important one week but happily consign to the bin the next.
Staying organised takes discipline and the ability to make effective decisions. My biggest problem is fighting the inner hoarder in me – time to be more ruthless.
Of course the process and determination of what “truly organised” is will vary from person to person. They key is to feel on top of things and confident that matters won’t get overlooked and opportunities or deadlines missed.
There is a level of science and tangible evidence of the psychological benefits of having a tidy up in the office. So if you’re in need of a little more order in your life here’s a few tips to get things started:
- Work out what being organised will look like for you. Don’t be side tracked by other views of what you should or shouldn’t do, make your own determination and picture your life in an organised vision of the future.
- Scope out the task and set out the specific actions that you’ll need to take. If this attack on chaos at home or work impacts on others it’s only polite to share your thoughts.
- Know yourself…we all have little foibles that can often get in the way of progress. Procrastination or as my wife so delicately puts it “faffing about” can be one weakness if there’s a particularly knotty matter to handle. My response to this is to deal with it first, get it out of the way and have the more enjoyable tasks lined up as the carrot to motivate me through the less palatable parts of the project. Others may be stimulated by having their favourite tunes firing them into action in a “get to it” playlist….some may need both.
- You are in control so be your own boss but don’t be easy on yourself. Set deadlines and meet them. Just make sure they’re realistically achievable. Don’t set yourself too big a task in one go. There’s nothing worse than half completing the job and being tired out too. It will just end up being a de-motivating and totally counterproductive experience. If you have a very large job to do to get yourself organised, break it down to manageable chunks.
- Don’t just shuffle the pack. Clutter and disorganisation will only be temporarily alleviated by shifting “stuff” from one area to another. Be decisive and ruthless. Get rid, shred and recycle as appropriate.
- Many hands make light work – a phrase that can come in very handy if you’ve willing helpers. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’ve shared as in (2.) above they may well volunteer their services willingly.
- Adapt as you go. If the original plan needs a tweak because you’re finding a better way to index files or make use of a particular cabinet, go with the flow.
- Treat yourself. We all like to feel a tangible benefit to working hard so why not promise yourself a nice lunch or trip out with the family as a reward for getting organised.
Once you’ve finished remember you actually haven’t…being organised is an ongoing process. Keep on top of matters to avoid falling back into the bad habits of old.
The greatest advantage, once the job is done is the feeling of control and confidence you get from knowing exactly where things are. You can save a great deal of time and avoid the frustration of duplicating effort by clearing out the clutter and in so doing retain the knowledge of what you have.
For me a cluttered office results in cluttered thinking and working practices. A clean and ordered environment certainly improves my outlook and ability to cope with the ever increasing demands of the modern multi-tasking world in which we live. My weekend might feel a little shorter but the week ahead will prove far more productive as a result.
David Laud – Click Here to follow me on Twitter