The disorganized executive may manage to squeeze by in life, but the organized executive usually has an advantage.
The below “tips and advice” are by no means meant to be comprehensive, but they nonetheless create a starting point for those on the road toward organization.
Following are some steps to get you started:
1) Deleting Old E-mails – It may sound elementary, but deleting unnecessary e-mails that clutter your inbox and other e-mail folders is an admirable first step. Besides, if your employer is up to date with legal regulations, your e-mails are permanently archived for many years; if you truly need one that you have “deleted,” you can likely have your IT department help you retrieve it from their servers.
2) Throwing Out Papers – In the realm of physical papers, everything ranging from old paper folders to others’ old business cards, to old meeting notes and scraps of paper can be recycled or shredded, depending on your preferences.
3) A Chronological Paper Filing System – If throwing out papers is half the battle, creating a filing system for remaining papers is also key: Consider a David Allen-type system that allows for a chronological filing in a file cabinet, as well as segregated folders for those that contain more than 50 items.
4) A Chronological Digital Filing System – So much has been written in an attempt to organize people’s online and personal computing devices that I won’t even venture into this territory, other than to say you should consider developing a system that suits your needs – there are lots of online resources to assist you. Deleting unnecessary “apps” and old programs is a first step in this general direction.
5) An Activity Bag – Usually housed in a briefcase, backpack or other bag, keep at hand the supplies you might need at any given moment: pens, pencils, a notepad – and any electronic equipment that you might require during an ad hoc meeting across town with important clients.
6) Creating a ‘To-Do’ List – The simple act of placing activities with specific dates/times on a paper calendar or digital calendar – and making a separate list of the tasks you need to accomplish both at work and at home – can add a vast array of order and organization to your life. The key, arguably, is that life is an ongoing process, and you’ll have a to-do list for the rest of your life. Don’t try to have a tension-, plan-, or goal-less existence with unending leisure; the world doesn’t work that way.
Above all, your organization should be centered toward larger life goals; organization is arguably not an “end game” unto itself. The more clearly you can see your target goals, the more easily you’ll be able to discover the motivation to organize yourself and your belongings in that direction.
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