Organizing 101: Tip 1
TAKE FIVE SOLID MINUTES EACH DAY to go through papers that are on your desk. Try to pull them together in some kind of pile in front of you if you can.
- unopened mail, open it.
- junk, shred it…
- a bill, flatten it, toss the opened envelope; make a manila folder “To Be Paid”.
- something that needs attention, make a manila folder “Follow Up”.
- pending like a medical claim, make a “Pending” manila folder.
- something that needs to be filed, make a “To Be Filed” manila folder.
- a project/s, make a “Name of Project” manila folder
- an upcoming event, you know what to do…
Stack those folders and put on the right side of your desk/computer. Anything that doesn’t fall into these categories, put off to the left side in a neat pile. Try to practice doing this once a day.
STOP after 5 minutes. Close your eyes, take 3 deep breathes in and out and go about your day.
Watch for the next tip … and in the meantime, I recommend the following supplies:
- Manila folders with 3″ cut tabs.
- a Label maker
- Fine point Black Sharpies
- Hanging generic green hanging folders
- Colored asst. tabs for hanging folders
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Good information, Cindy! It’s a simple system to set up and you’ll be more efficient because of it!
Lynn K. Jones
Isn’t it interesting how something so simple can take us down a rocky road…emotionally! I appreciate your profound simplicity to help others take 5 SOLID minutes to make it a regular habit. No thinking, not even emotions can de-rail our firmly established good habits. Thanks for this post~
What great tips Cindy! You have a way of inspiring me to be more organized every time I come onto your blog. I will attempt this at my office for five minutes everyday. I’ll never finish if I never start. I look forward to learning more great tips from you. Thanks.
Thanks Patricia. It’s all so simple; it’s the routine and discipline that are the hard parts and what REALLY matters. I just finished paying bills and putting my ‘pile’ away. What a difference I feel in my attitude. I feel free.
You always inspire me to tackle the next drawer. Desk? done. FIles? done, next stop, the kitchen catch all drawer that is TINY but packed!
Thanks! I scheduled a good de-cluttering for my office today. Looking forward to it. Thanks for the inspiration and incentive.
Good tip, Cindy! Mail and other papers can be so daunting, and taking 5 min. a day to work on it will add up over time. I love the idea of encouraging people to make changes in small steps!!
Great tips for the incoming paper mail. However, when I file things with the manila folders system, a sense of relief sets in and I tend to forget the documents even exist until they need to be referenced at some future date, if ever. What would you do with a four draw file cabinet that is overflowing with decades of paper?
My guess is that you have files that are very old. In that case, I would go through them, folder by folder from the back of the bottom drawer to the front of the top drawer and see what you can purge. I would get a plastic tub for files that you are not ready to part with, put them in something like this file box: http://www.staples.com/Staples-Large-Capacity-Hanging-File-Tote/product_634514 and put the box in storage. In a couple of years, you can revisit that box and by then, you may be willing to part with some of those papers/files.