How to get and stay organized

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Have you how learned to get and stay organized? It’s not as difficult as you might think….

By Ann Gomez

Many people struggle to stay organized because they treat it as a one-off strategy. We’re eager to unpack after moving into a new home or office, spring clean the basement, or digitize those old photos. But then life gets busy, the paper piles up, and those trendy storage containers you selected that were just right for this fun project remain empty.

Our efforts seem in vain. But if you want organization to work for you, it’s important to make time for organization.

Like anything worthwhile, unless it becomes a habit, it simply won’t happen.

When you make organization a part of your routine, you protect time for it, just as you do with any of your core priorities, meetings, and projects.

Here are four strategies you can use to get organized – and stick to it.

  1. Set aside time every day or week to clean up your digital and physical space. You can set a reminder and block off the last 10 minutes at the end of each day, or you can set aside time on Friday afternoons to focus on organization. Use this time to clean off your computer desktop, your Downloads folder and delete what has accumulated in the Recycle Bin folder.
  2. Tidy your inbox to archive, delete or move emails into specific folders (and of course, you are already doing this as an Email Warrior). A clear inbox leads to better focus, clear decision-making, less time wasted – and more time for the things you love to do. And staying organized offers the same benefits!
  3. Take a walk through your workspace or home to declutter and gather any loose items lying around. Things get lost when they don’t have a home. Actively purge, digitize, and organize the information and tools you use with a place for everything and everything in its place. Use the one-touch principle just as you would in your inbox, and make it a point to put away the laundry when it comes out of the dryer and tidy any paperwork as it comes in. Store items using clear bins and labels, file what needs to be filed, and/or scan what you need using a tool like Evernote.
  4. Go paperless. Your time is too valuable to spend it searching for information. And if others need access to the same information you are storing, they won’t be able to find it on your desk.

Staying organized is truly a valuable investment of your time. After all, the goal is to spend your time doing your best work, not looking for it. I hope this inspires you to make the best use of your digital and physical workspace to do your best work and achieve amazing results.

For more strategies you can use to set yourself up for success, see Ann’s latest book, Workday Warrior: A Proven Path to Reclaiming Your Time, published by Dundurn Press, 2022.

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