BYO elbow grease. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)
The beginning of a new year is a great time to make a fresh start. Getting organized is the second most popular resolution for 2012, just below losing weight. What can you do to make 2012 more organized, productive and efficient? Here are a few tips to start the year off right…
Set goals and write them down. You are 10 times more likely to make a change by physically writing down your goals. Take time now to sit and do some 2012 planning.
Create a routine. Set up a schedule with regular times to work on specific projects. If your time is spent scattered about working on various projects in small bits, you end up feeling unaccomplished. Manage your time with a plan.
Do Less. Know that distractions are going to happen, so plan for them and don't over-schedule your day. Over-committing and working frantically will reduce your productivity. Take it easy, and if things go smoothly, you can always put the extra time to good use.
Create Habits. Small habits of clearing your desk and finishing up what you're doing as you go about your day can have huge benefits in maintaining order.
Take baby steps. We can only change about 10 percent at a time, so start small. Don't set your expectations too high. Start with attainable concrete tasks that will eventually add up to be the change.
Edit where you can. Delegate and determine what you can eliminate from your tasks. We all have the same amount of time in a day, spend that time doing what's most important and delegate or ditch the rest.
Finish what you start. Clutter is directly related to unfinished tasks. Make it a point to finish projects completely and put away all of the related information before moving on to the next. This will also make it easier to find what you need when you go back to it.
Getting organized is not a destination, it's a constant process. Start the year off right by putting some simple organizational processes into place to help lighten the load and make your work life more efficient in 2012.
Monica Friel is president and founder of Chaos To Order -- the Chicago area's premiere organizing company since 1990. Friel manages and trains a staff of professional organizers who specialize in everything from household clutter to corporate chaos.