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VOL. 126 | NO. 237 | Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chris Crouch

Organization Isn’t So Tough


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It’s that time of year again when many people begin thinking about getting organized. There are two very different aspects of getting organized. One has to do with the physical side of getting organized, for example, creating a more orderly working environment. The other has to do with the mental side of getting organized and being more focused.

In this article, I will address the easier of the two, the physical side of getting organized. Perhaps we’ll chat about the mental side of getting organized in another article. The good news: Since clutter can be distracting, getting things in better physical order usually leads to more mental focus.

I totally agree that it is a good idea to wrap up the year with a little organizing. However, most people make a critical mistake when it comes to actually tackling the project and end up wasting a lot of time trying to organize things that do not matter.

Getting started on most projects is the hard part. One technique for dealing with this problem is to simply think of any step you can take and then ask yourself the question, “What, if anything, should I do before that?” Keep asking that simple question until you can think of nothing else to do. Your last answer becomes the first step of your project.

Of course, after you do that (and before you begin), you can also return to your original thought and ask, “What, if anything, should I do after that?” When you run out of answers to this question, you will have officially developed a step-by-step project plan.

But let’s get back to physically organizing your workspace. What is a logical first step for that project?

I believe the best first step for getting your office in order is scheduling a serious throwaway session. Set aside time to throw things away that you no longer want or need. Why bother trying to organize things that you should not be keeping in the first place?

If all goes well, discarding the clutter in your office will make you feel good and help provide the motivation and energy for executing the second step of the project: storing the things you plan to keep in a way that it will make it easy to find them later. If you care to know the details of how to do that, I’ve written entire books on the topic. However, my main point for this article is to simply schedule a discarding session. That’s it!

Now let’s put things in perspective. Mentally accept the fact it is not that big a deal to clear the clutter out of your office. The total surface area of planet Earth is 5,490,383,247,360,000 square feet (that’s about 5.5 quadrillion). The average office or cubicle workspace ranges from 100 to 400 square feet. When you look at it that way, you don’t have all that much space to keep in order. Get started today!

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.

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