Clearing away clutter

A couple of months ago I went to a time management class. It was offered through my work and taught by a corporate teacher. Some of the things he taught are useful and some aren’t appropriate for me right now. I did learn things that I can apply at work and home.

  1. Clear out the clutter. Spend an hour a day for one week. Each day is a new area to tackle. Inbox, paper files, supply drawer, electronic files, command center, etc.
  2. Create a filing system. Keep all necessary items within arms reach. Color code for easy accessiblity. {I am not doing this – it doesn’t relate to my work life, but might for home.}
  3. Put your command center on the opposite side of your dominant hand. Supply it with necessary items to take notes.
  4. Use one notebook. Take it with you everywhere. Write down appointments, notes for later, or to-do items.
  5. Plan out your day every morning. Schedule accurately and according to your priorities.
  6. Keep up with the system. This is very important for me. If I keep up with the system, then my mind doesn’t get sidetracked. It also means something doesn’t get lost or forgotten. My work area and mind need to be cleared of clutter in order to operate at optimum efficiency!

I decided to use the fresh calendar as a starting point. I had been practicing step 5 {the steps are takeaways I have, not essential to the training} since the beginning of December. When the month started I knew it was historically a rough month. Less work days and less people in the office. Usually less people means more work to get done. But typically the holiday breaks come and I feel like I should have accomplished more. On my last day before vacation, I wrote down the items that were still open. I also started a “goals” sheet for the beginning of the year. I decided to hit the ground running when vacation was over. I wrapped up the projects from before break and then I started in on my office. I left all the new emails to sit. I knew that I needed to ignore them in order to start and finish the organization project. The decluttering project gave me a fresh feeling. I transformed that feeling into my task list and compiled a list of things that I wanted to accomplish next. I didn’t spend an hour a day organizing my office. I gave my office a good four hours spread over a one-day period. At times I felt in over my head and lost complete motivation. I kept at it and felt a huge weight was lifted when I was finished.


I’m still working on my time management approach, but decluttering my space {inside and outside of the file cabinets} has helped tremendously. I also found that erasing my whiteboard was essential to my energy level. After two years, I needed to see the starkness of white. What are you doing to help start “fresh” in 2012?

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