Welcome to the new paperless society! I'm sure some are better than others at being paperless but somehow I didn't get the memo. I still have certain things that require being read or reviewed on paper. I suspect I'm not alone in these piles occasionally spinning out of control into deep, leaning towers.
Oh my gosh, really? This picture gives me hives.
I am a bit of a freak about organization and these towers get snapped back into shape on a regular basis. Moving into the months of spring and summer we all see an uptick in business (wahoo) so let's do a little spring cleaning of the desk to prepare for the busy months ahead.
Working on a clean desk is a golden rule for efficiency because you don't get distracted by all those other pressing projects. You can focus on one thing at a time - finish it - move on to the next. This is a simple, effective productivity booster.
Let's get started...
- Turn your computer(s) off while you work on your paper clean up. EMail, FaceBook, ActiveRain will be too distracting so shut it all off while you work. You can live without it for an hour (or 4 depending on the level of your disaster...)
- Now take all of those piles and gather them into one. (If you have banana peels and 14 coffee cups on your desk as well, this is a good time to get rid of those...)
- Starting at the top, sort the papers into the following piles -
- To Read
- To File
- To Enter
- Be careful not to get distracted when you find an urgent project that is overdue in the pile. The task at hand is to get that pile under control so you can prioritize and get caught up.
- Be sure to purge as you go. Anything you don't need, put it in the shred or recycle bin. Be brutal with this and get rid of as much as you can.
- Utilize a spiral notebook to keep track of your priority projects and to-do tasks. This helps get rid of paper as well because sometimes you just need a note on a checklist to purge a paper. If you are a "sticky notes everywhere" offender put all of those into a pile, note them in your spiral notebook and then toss them. (You can do it.)
- You should feel better already. The next step is to get the "to file" pile filed and the "to enter" pile entered. Work quickly on this - no dilly dallying.
- Now prioritize your priority pile with the most urgent projects on top.
- You're ready to focus on your priority pile, beginning at the top. One project at a time.
- Celebrate when you're done because I'm sure you had an incredibly productive day, you feel all zen-like now, and moving forward you know how to keep it under control.
Here are a couple items to keep it under control moving forward:
- Here is a great article and resource links on "How to Get Rid of Junk Mail" - It's worth the time and effort because it will save you time and effort sorting through all the junk in the future.
- We all get busy and those piles will creep back. Get them under control on a regular schedule that works for you. I like to do a reorganization / clean up every Friday afternoon so I can come back to a clean and prioritized work space on Monday.
Just think, you'll be so productive you'll have more time for showing houses, prospecting for new clients, cartwheels, long walks, singing around campfires and such. Enjoy your new, good habits!