Does this look familiar?
If this sounds like you, you are not alone! What happens when we fall into a cycle like the one above is that we get a feeling of being overwhelmed. What you may even find is that what started out as one space has grown to more spaces or areas. So how do you get out of this never-ending cycle? You break each area down as far as you can. Here’s an example:
Scenario: Home Office
- Unable to see the desk (flat surface)
- Papers on the desk, on the floor, on the filing cabinet
- Book shelf filled with ‘stuff’ (not necessarily books)
- Electronic cords in some drawers, some on the floor, some on the book shelf
- No garbage can, no recycling, no shredder
- Similar items scattered around the room
- Filing cabinet half empty
Getting a picture of this home office?
To rid yourself of that ‘overwhelmed’ feeling, take one area and focus on that. Each area may take one day (or part of a day) but that’s o.k. My little rule of thumb is: Do the job right the first time. Take your time on each job and just get it done. THEN, move on to the next.
Here’s an example of dealing with just the PAPER issue:
- Collect all the loose paper.
- Take the paper to another room and sort.
- Sort into categories – the more categories the better: filing, action items (things that need to get done or have a deadline/due date), shredding, recycling, etc.
- Take your recycling pile and recycle it right away. Check – this job is now done!
- Take your shredding pile and shred it (yes – do it now). Check – this job is now done!
- Action items – take this pile and record any due dates/deadlines in your calendar. Place these items (for now) in a pile once your have documented the dates. These papers will be going back to the home office.
- Filing – if need be, purchase file folders and use the filing cabinet for what it is meant for. Take the time to file right now. Check – this job is now done.
- Back to Action Items: the dates/deadlines are recorded however you still may need access to these papers. There are many organizational options to choose from. Whatever organizational system you choose, make sure it works for you!
- When you have placed your ‘action items’ in a spot that works for you (back in the home office), the paper issue should now be completed.
When the paper issue has been fully and completely addressed, then the next area can be started on. A common mistake for individuals is to start on one area and then get distracted and start working on another area. Catch yourself before that happens! It is extremely important to focus on one area, get that area addressed before you move on to the next! Stop the cycle of “I don’t know where to start.” It may take some discipline on your part, but it can be done. By doing so, you will start to see results and get a handle on your space!
Happy organizing everyone!