If you find yourself completely overwhelmed with disorganization in your office or at home, dedicate time on your calendar and schedule to begin the Sort and Purge Process. Sorting helps you to see visible results immediately which will encourage you to continue your quest for getting organized.
As you look around the space that needs organizing, pay close attention to the visible clutter. Have a garbage can or trash bag handy to immediately toss the stuff that needs to go. You’ll probably find yourself scratching your head as to why you’ve been hanging on to some of these items. If you anticipate coming across items that can be donated to local charities or non-profits, have several boxes or bags available to hold these items. When you are done sorting and purging, deliver these donations as soon as possible so you’re not tempted to change your mind on any of the items. And be sure to get a receipt for this tax-deductible donation.
If you’re sorting your office you may find things that need to be returned home with you, such as food storage containers left from sack lunches . It’s amazing the things you’ll find hiding amongst the clutter tucked away in places such as underneath your desk. You might also find things like that file your co-worker was asking about recently or a piece of equipment you borrowed from the office supply closet.
As the sorting process continues you are no doubt going to uncover things that you are clueless on what to do with. If it’s a piece of equipment or electronic gadget, check with your Purchasing Department or Facilities people first. If you are looking at documents or other items related to a past project check with other team members. The last thing you need to do is save duplicate items that others within your company are also saving.
Before sorting through filing drawers, review your company’s retention policies for various types of projects and documents. Be sure to shred confidential items vs. tossing in the trash and get ready to gain back lots of drawer space.
Another place you’ll want to Sort will be your email inbox. It’s the easiest place to hide clutter because only you and Mr. IT know what’s hiding in there. While it isn’t unusual for employees to have more than 1500 emails taking up space in their Inboxes, it doesn’t add to their productivity when time is consistently spent searching for something.
Every email is a decision waiting to be made. And making these decisions is often why we delay doing anything with them because we think that “we’ll get to it later”. Unfortunately, later rarely comes. It is estimated that 50 percent of all emails currently sitting in Inboxes can be deleted. When reviewing your email, here are the most commonly made decisions:
- Create a Task or To-do Items
Small and steady progress equals long term success. So start out with one small area of your home or one area of your office versus attempting to do too much all at once. You’ll see results quickly and be able to maintain your newly sorted area more successfully.