Guest Blog: Are You Wasting Time Trying to Get Organized?

Organization isn't about perfection: it's about productivity and finding what you need quickly. Too often we find ourselves having good intentions to get organized, but wasting time focused on the wrong things. Here are some solutions to keep you on task when organizing:

Watch the clock. Look at the how much time you can carve out for the sole purpose of organization and stick to it. Don't let organizing get in the way of other work that needs to get done.

Stay focused. It's easy to organize where you like. But when you're motivated to work, begin with the area that's troublesome and stick with it. Don't venture into other areas until you meet your initial goal.

Don't create more chaos. Don't pull everything out of a supply closet if you don't have the time to put it all back in. Keep everything in the space, eliminate what you can, then sort and organize.

Piles of paper = unfinished tasks. If you stumble upon stacks of unfinished paperwork, don't try to finish them while organizing. That's counter-productive. You will find many things that can send you in different directions, don't let them derail you.

Don't focus on the details right away. The files don't need to be labeled and perfected. Creating temporary files is a great way to get started. You can slap a sticky note on the file folder and move on.

Organize only where you need it. When you decide to organize a particular area, don't wander into other places. Get through what you need to organize, and then get back to work.

Don't over-file. Do you have files for every category possible? Make chronological files for January through December for each year and file all bills and related receipts quickly and efficiently.

Don't file alphabetically. File according to use. If you use a particular file frequently, keep it close so you can access it quickly.

Remember these tips to keep organization where it belongs, as a process that leads to better productivity, not a task that consumes your whole day!

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.

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