Organizing Tips

Here are just a few organizing tips that can help you get better organized.

1. DETERMINE YOUR GOALS.
Before you start anything, determine its goal. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever get there? Set mini-goals and reward yourself for successes.

2. DECLUTTER YOUR DESK.
An uncluttered desktop erases unnecessary distractions and helps keep your mind on tasks that need immediate attention. Keep only the items on your desk that relate to your current projects.  And clean your desk off at the end of the day so you start fresh every morning.

3. DON’T RELY ON YOUR MEMORY.
There is just too much to remember these days.  You run the risk of letting tasks fall through the cracks. The best way to never forget an appointment, a deadline or a detail again, is to write everything down.  There are plenty of Apps you can get for your phone.

4. CONSOLIDATE SIMILAR ACTIVITIES.
Instead of starting and stopping at different levels of activity, you’ll save time by making all of your outgoing telephone calls together, taking care of all your errands at once, etc.  And if you stay standing when making the calls you’ll find the calls will be quick and easy.

5. CLEAN OUT YOUR FILES.
Before you go through the expense of purchasing more file cabinets, folders, etc., take the time to purge all unnecessary paperwork and materials.  Find out what you have so you purchase the size of containers you need.

6. USE ONE CALENDAR.
The biggest mistake people make when using planning calendars is to keep more than one. Keep personal, professional and family items on one calendar. It will help to eliminate scheduling conflicts. These days the best calendar is the one on your phone, in the cloud.

7. SET UP FILES FOR PROJECTS.
Don’t waste time searching for papers when you need them. Keep all paperwork that pertains to a certain project together in one large folder.  This tip is not only good for projects, it’s great for all your appliance and tool manuals….put them all in one binder or file in your cabinet.

8. MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
Make at least one screened appointment with yourself each day. Screened time is quiet, uninterrupted time allowing you to concentrate on a project or catch up on your reading.

9. DELEGATE.
Realize that you can’t do everything yourself. Learn to delegate in the office and at home. To use an effective delegation system, you must train, entrust, follow-up and evaluate.  Then in no time you can focus on only you can do.

10. DEVELOP FALSE DEADLINES.
If you have a deadline at the end of the month, record the deadline four days earlier. You’ll eliminate the last-minute rush to complete the project because you’ll have given yourself extra time for last minute changes.  

11. USE TIMERS AND ALARM CLOCKS.
Allocate time for your daily activities, from working on projects to doing household chores. Then set timers or alarm clocks to keep you on schedule.  This also works well with your morning alarm clock.  Set it 15 minutes ahead of time.  You’ll find you’re not as rushed in the morning. 

12. GET THE KIDS OFF TO SCHOOL QUICKER.
The trick is don’t leave decision-making for the morning. The night before, help your children choose their outfits, decide what they want to eat and determine what they need for school.

13. DETERMINE YOUR BEST TIME FOR TASKS.
Use your most productive time to do your most productive work. Alert in the morning? Afternoon? Tackle your most difficult, important work during the time of day when you’re at your best and you’re most likely to complete it.

14. USE TO DO LISTS.
Take control of your time. Make a To Do List the evening before.  Do not have more than 10 items on your list.  Having more will only add stress to your day.  Unless of course you will be delegating those tasks!

16. SET DEADLINES.
Setting a deadline forces you to work towards it. Set a definite date and time. Saying, ‘When I get a chance’ or ‘Sometime in the near future’ is insufficient.

17. USE A GREETING CARD ORGANIZER.
Consider a greeting card organizer to remember birthdays, anniversaries and other special events. These look like a notebook, except that each page has a monthly pocket to hold cards. You can pencil in birthdays, events, etc. for each month, plus, you can purchase your cards ahead of time!  Or you could also create file folders for each month and buy and sign the cards and file them in their particular month reading for sending.

18. STORE SIMILAR ITEMS TOGETHER.
Categorization is very important when you’re getting organized. Keep all bill paying supplies in one place. Gather all of your craft supplies in a basket. Keep your photo supplies in one plastic bin. When you need to work on something, everything will be easily accessible.

19. PLAN YOUR MEALS.
Plan your meals before you write out your shopping list. It will save time because you’ll know exactly what you need.  Don’t forget to eat before you grocery shopping.  You’ll buy less junk food.

20. PUT THINGS AWAY
Take time to put things back where they belong. Put things back immediately after you’re finished with them or set up a 15-minute appointment with yourself to put things back at the end of each day.

21. TOSS OLD READING MATERIAL.
Go through your reading stack. Get rid of outdated newspapers. Ditch magazines older than 3 months. Keep only a few catalogs that you truly enjoy.  And this could all be done during television commercials.

22. KEEP RECEIPTS TOGETHER.
Keep an envelope or zip lock bag  in your purse or wallet to hold receipts that you may need for expense records or tax purposes. When you get back to the office you can file them.

23. COORDINATE WITH OTHERS.
Work together with others – family, or co-workers – to come up with organizational systems that are simple and effective for everyone involved.

24. CREATE AN EFFECTIVE WORK AREA.
Create a pleasant, well-equipped work area. Whether it’s a nook, cranny or a large office, your work area should contain all necessary supplies and equipment within arms reach or in easily accessible areas.

25. MAGNETIZE YOUR MEDICINE CABINET.
Mount a long magnet along the back of your medicine cabinet to hold tweezers, clippers, little scissors and other small metal objects.