Wednesday, November 01, 2006

WLA 2006: Poof! You're Organized

Wednesday, 2-4pm

The program was presented by organizing coach Nancy Kruschke McKinney, and was a companion to her Conquer the Clock presentation given earlier in the day.

The benefits of organizing:
  • You can find information quickly
  • Others can find items when you're away
  • Freedom from chaos. "Everything around us talks to us" so get rid of the things you don't like.
  • Know where to put things when they come in. If you don't know where to put something it will end up in a pile. Know where an item's "home" is.
  • Save time and money
  • Reduces stress. One tip: put your car keys in the same place every day.
Where to start:
  • Start small, otherwise it can feel overwhelming. Give it 15 minutes, and you can get rid of some of the "paper weight"
  • Once you get started, make it part of your routine
Keys to organizing:
  • Gather things together
  • Sort by grouping like-items together and toss
  • Create "homes" for everything; these can be containers or a minimum of 3 stack shelves (this utilizes both horizontal and vertical space on your desk)
  • 1. top basket is a temporary holding place or inbox
  • 2. middle basket is for action items
  • 3. bottom basket is for reading materials
  • Write it down; this helps us remember it
  • Regular maintenance
Make your desktop usable:
  • Create an effective desktop. A clean workspace helps us to stay focused and concentrate.
  • UGH system:
  • U - Usable - the things you use on a daily basis need to be close at hand
  • G - Get rid of the garbage - photos on your desk reduces the amount of desk space you have; move the photos to a shelf (utilize vertical space) to reclaim desk space
  • H - Handy - have a small supply of office supplies nearby
  • Papers that clutter your desk:
  • Papers you know you'll need soon
  • Papers waiting for info/signature
  • Papers needing decisions
  • Projects
  • Papers to file
Filing basics: keep your filing system...
  • Simple -- don't make it complicated; be careful of over-colorcoding labels; make it easy to delegate filing to others
  • Easy -- if it's too hard we aren't going to use it
  • Manageable
When you're setting up a filing system ask these questions:
  1. What areas of the filing system cause the greatest frustrations for you and your co-workers?
  2. What areas of the filing system result in the greatest loss of time?
  3. What is the primary criteria by which I would look for this document?
  4. Who else uses these files?
  5. Do I need this information in mulitple files?
Select the right filing system that's right for you:
  • Alphabetical
  • Numerical
  • Subject
  • Geographical location
To-do lists:
  • It can be overwhelming to have everything in one list
  • Big projects can be chunked into smaller bits that are easier to check off your to-do list
Types of files:
1. Action files:
  • Action pending folders
  • Project folders
  • Reading basket
  • Tickler system - one folder for each month of the year
2. Resource files:
  • Maintain a file index
  • Divide system into categories
  • Avoid overstuffing files
  • Eliminate documents that can be found someplace else
  • Beware of over-colorcoding

Managing email:
  • Organize email into folders for easy retrieval. Don't let messages sit uncategorized in the inbox.
  • Create folders and sub-folders.
  • Is it kept somewhere else? If so, delete it.
  • Resist the temptation to read each new email message as it arrives. Instead, read and reply to messages in batches several tiimes during a day. Turn off automatic notification of new messages; avoid these interruptions.

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