De-clutter your office, de-clutter your life

Somewhere on the top of your desk, you keep a calendar.

This week's read

The 8-Minute Organizer by Regina Leeds c.2012, Da Capo Lifelong Books $13.99/$16.50 Canada 218 pages

Somewhere on the top of your desk, you keep a calendar.

The calendar is next to a few important files you need for work. You stash a dedicated pen with the documents, just so it’s handy, and you’ve paper clipped some notes there, just as a reminder. You’ve even color-coded the folders.

And if you could ever find those folders, you’d find the calendar — which you haven’t actually seen since last Tuesday.

There’s a desk somewhere inside your mess, and now there’s hope for you, too. Read the new book The 8-Minute Organizer by Regina Leeds and you’ll reclaim your office in almost no time at all.

Have you ever noticed how, sometimes, you can’t think straight when you’re sitting at your desk? Regina Leeds knows why: clutter is noisy, she says. It “seems to emit a frequency that makes clear thinking virtually impossible…”

Yeah, you need to organize, but your mess may as well be a mountain. Leeds says that it needn’t be overwhelming, though. Clutter can be tackled in three easy steps, and you can do it in mere minutes.

Before you get started, try to understand how your office got this way in the first place. Was your childhood home in disarray? Were your parents messy or neat? Are you sharing office space with someone who’s also disorganized? Knowing these answers will help you break bad habits and determine where you’re headed.

Next, take stock and eliminate that which is unneeded, outdated, superfluous, or redundant. Don’t be afraid to shred paper, and if there’s too much to comfortably do in eight minutes, then spend eight minutes looking for a shredding service. Toss old magazines, junk mail, and catalogues.

Next, make a set of “action files” and start sorting. Categorize paper to create a system that makes sense to you (but don’t overdo; keep it simple). Store receipts and important information in a safe place, and if you don’t know what’s important, ask your accountant. Categorize office supplies, too, so you know what you’ve got. This step, by the way, can be done in eight-minute increments over several days’ time.

Lastly, organize what’s left. Archive. Scan to your computer. Rearrange. And once you’ve found your calendar, set a date to do it all again next month.

Pick up a copy of The 8-Minute Organizer, and you’ll see a lot about de-cluttering your home. You may think that isn’t going to help your business any, but admit it: messy here, probably messy there.

And neither has to be that way. Author Regina Leeds helps her readers start small by putting a time limit on what’s done, by working in baby-steps, and by offering support and a little cheerleading. Leeds makes organization seem easy, and her no-nonsense common-sense takes the stress out of cleaning a mess.

I liked The 8-Minute Organizer because I think it’s one of those things you can use in the office right now. If your goal is to become a neatnik, grab this book — just as soon as you find that missing calendar.