Tips on personal organization

clutter desk imageA key element of successful personal organization is to review all incoming items on a regular basis. The first time you do this exercise you could easily be overwhelmed. It may take several steps in order to get everything under control. Imagine a big area in the middle of your workspace that holds everything you need to do. After you have collected all these things, put each item where it belongs.

Start with the pile on your desk. Pick up the first item. What is it? After you name it, there are two possible choices for action which I call actionable and non-actionable. If it is non-actionable you should throw it away, or file it in a “someday-maybe” file, or in a reference file. You’ll find that the non-actionable group usually represents about 75 percent of the pile.

Now your pile is much smaller and contains only items that require action. There are three possible outcomes. If it is a task that requires a very short amount of time to accomplish, just do it. When you want to deal with it at a later date, defer it. There will be some items that you will hand off to other people to accomplish because you either don’t have the time or expertise to do it by yourself, so delegate it. I find that if I empty my collection devices and process what’s in them twice a day, I can keep my desk clear and get things accomplished.

–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest


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