The Cluttered Desk; The Tidy Desk

A cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind”

“A tidy desk is the sign of an insane mind”

What does your desk really say about you? Do you have trouble finding things? Do you know exactly where everything is? Would someone else be able to find anything?

My desk is a mess, but I can tell you exactly where everything is. The system works for me. But what if I had an assistant or needed to bring in extra help for a short time? Would my organizational style help or hinder?

I have been in the mood to tidy up lately (much to the joy of my wife) so naturally I turned to the internet. Nothing like some cyber procrastination to get things off on the right foot.

I found a couple of articles, but basically they all included the same information that I boiled down to some simple strategies for getting organized.

  1. Really want to get and stay organized. If you don’t really want it, it ain’t gonna happen. Don’t even bother with the rest of this article if your heart isn’t in it.
  2. Don’t try to tackle it all at once. Spend a set amount of time each day. Perhaps 20 minutes, perhaps an hour. Whatever is necessary to plug through the current mess without burning out.
  3. Come up with a strategy. For instance “In, Pending, Out”. Or  “Keep, Toss, Move”. Or “Working, Reference, Archive”. You can come up with any combination of categories, you just need a category and a place for everything. Don’t forget to have and use a category for trash. You must throw things away.
  4. Develop a routine. Get in the habit of processing all current papers using your chosen strategy. Practice this strategy even while you are still working through the existing mess. Without developing a habit, your desk will eventually return to it’s wild state, and you will have to start over again.

I was amazed to see how many services and consultants there are that want to help you get organized. But hey, if you’ve tried everything else, you may need to bring in the big guns.

Me… I will try it on my own for a while.

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