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How to Create a More Organized Mind And Desk

If you're trying to organize your mind to reduce decision fatigue and information overload, then you need to make sure that you organize the space around you.

Organised desk, organised mind

In many ways, our spaces are a reflection of the state of our mind - but actually the correlation works both ways and if you have a cluttered desk or home, it will make your mind more cluttered too.

When it comes to spaces that contain a lot of information and items, your desk is one of the most pressing areas for organization. Let's take a look at some things you can do to make your desk better organized.

#1 Throw Things Out

This is really how you start making any space more organized - you throw out anything that isn't 100% necessary. If it's a decorative item, then ask yourself if it really fills you with long-term fulfillment.

If not? Bin it! Otherwise, ask yourself when the last time you used it was and whether you really cannot survive without it.

The same goes for that drawer that's full of stationary. Do you really need that much stationary? Could that space not be much better used for other things?

#2 Create a System That Reflects Your Brain

Another tip is to create systems that you can use to keep your documents in order. And a great way to get inspiration for this is to look at the way our brains store information.

Specifically, our brains have three main 'compartments' for storing information. These are:

Working Memory - which is the information we're currently working with and doesn't necessarily need to be stored.

Short Term Memory - which is the information we hold for a few days. If it doesn't get used enough it will be thrown out, if it is important, it will be stored in long-term memory.

Long Term Memory - which is the information that we have stored permanently. Nothing gets destroyed here but access can become more difficult without practice.

So how do you create something similar to this?

Simple: you make one space for each type of information.

Your 'working memory' could be your noticeboard and desk itself. This is where you keep anything that you're currently working on and need immediate access to.

Not using it anymore? Then it goes into short-term storage - somewhere like a paper tray.

Then, at the end of each week, go through your short-term storage and move anything important to your 'long term storage' and throw out the rest. That's how you create a much more organized desk and mind.

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An easy method to keep your desk clear of 'stuff'

Last week I spoke at the conference of a very busy multi-brand Marketing Department on how to manage their office environment and overload of paper and information. Since their Manager had read 'Getting a Grip on the Paper War - Managing information in the modern office' last year she'd been trying to convert her staff, but decided when the book got lost on someone's desk that she'd better get me in to help reinforce the message!

I asked: 'Who regards themselves as tidy and organised....' (before I'd finished the question, most hands went up) ... with their desks?'

A laugh went round the room, most hands went down, and some folk looked embarrassed.

That's a typical response. Most professionals, especially highly educated ones, haven't been taught simple methods to keep the desk tamed, and so that wonderful stress-reducer - a clear desk - is missed.
Seems to me it's so obvious that it's slipped under the radar.

You're probably about now heading into the wind-up (or is it a wind-down for you) of the Christmas season, so here, to help you get through the mass of 'stuff' waiting for your quick action, is one very simple desk-management technique, excerpted from the book.

Chunk your 'put-away' tasks

A very powerful desk-management behaviour to develop is a 'Put it away as you go' habit, but don't be ruled by it. Chunk it.

What do I mean by that? Imagine yourself working at the desk. You finish with a file, or a paper out of a file. You know it's a good habit to put away as you go, so you jump up, walk over to the filing cabinet, and replace it. Or you've borrowed scissors from the receptionist. She's threatened you with early death if you don't return them, so the minute you're finished you do as you were told. Then, (if you're lucky and don't get distracted), back you go to your desk to start on the next activity.
Two possible things can happen here.

1. You spend many minutes per day jumping up and down, interrupting the momentum you'd created at your desk.

2. Because you've completed something and not yet begun the next task there isn't as strong a subliminal pull back to your desk. You're therefore more liable to be distracted by some interesting little by-way, a file that catches your eye, or someone else walking past.

To overcome that scenario, try this one instead. You finish a task and put the completed materials either on the furthest away point of your desk out of your immediate visual range, or even better (as long as it doesn't cause a traffic jam!) put them on the floor beside or behind your chair. The next time you stand up, instead of stepping over the seeming clutter on the floor you ALWAYS bend down, pick it up, and put it away.

I learned this technique as a mother, trying to stay sane raising six children. (Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I'd share it with business people!).

Whilst the children were little, (and anyone who's lived with children knows they have a profound disregard for tidiness) I found that, in a drive to keep the house looking a few notches above a war zone, I seemed to spend all day putting things away! Eventually I learnt to make piles 'to be put away in another room' by the door of any room I was working in. Then, as I walked out the door I'd pick up the pile, quickly zip around the house by the shortest possible route (implementing my own time and motion exercise) and put everything away. It was vastly more efficient than running around the house with each separate item.

Apply the same technique in your office, no matter how large or small, and you'll gain great time-savings. It may seem a slightly untidy way of working but in fact it's very efficient.

Even though there is a slight delay, you are still putting things away as you go - whilst they're fresh in your mind. It's rarely longer than 30 minutes before you put away your current crop of 'stuff'. You never end up with an intimidating pile of filing (and I've seen some mountains!). Over a year many hours are saved - you don't walk around unnecessarily. If it's filing, you don't need to spend time re-familiarising yourself with the item or paper in hand, but it hasn't interrupted your flow of activity.

Bottom line - it saves you spending 'the rest of your natural life' majoring in minor things.

............................................................
Author: Robyn Pearce. You can contact Robyn at robyn@gettingagrip.com and her website is http://www.gettingagrip.com You can check out the back issues of these Top Time Tips or the Discussion Board.

,

An easy method to keep your desk clear of 'stuff'

Last week I spoke at the conference of a very busy multi-brand Marketing Department on how to manage their office environment and overload of paper and information. Since their Manager had read 'Getting a Grip on the Paper War - Managing information in the modern office' last year she'd been trying to convert her staff, but decided when the book got lost on someone's desk that she'd better get me in to help reinforce the message!

I asked: 'Who regards themselves as tidy and organised....' (before I'd finished the question, most hands went up) ... with their desks?'

A laugh went round the room, most hands went down, and some folk looked embarrassed.

That's a typical response. Most professionals, especially highly educated ones, haven't been taught simple methods to keep the desk tamed, and so that wonderful stress-reducer - a clear desk - is missed.
Seems to me it's so obvious that it's slipped under the radar.

You're probably about now heading into the wind-up (or is it a wind-down for you) of the Christmas season, so here, to help you get through the mass of 'stuff' waiting for your quick action, is one very simple desk-management technique, excerpted from the book.

Chunk your 'put-away' tasks
A very powerful desk-management behaviour to develop is a 'Put it away as you go' habit, but don't be ruled by it. Chunk it.
What do I mean by that? Imagine yourself working at the desk. You finish with a file, or a paper out of a file. You know it's a good habit to put away as you go, so you jump up, walk over to the filing cabinet, and replace it. Or you've borrowed scissors from the receptionist. She's threatened you with early death if you don't return them, so the minute you're finished you do as you were told. Then, (if you're lucky and don't get distracted), back you go to your desk to start on the next activity.
Two possible things can happen here.
1. You spend many minutes per day jumping up and down, interrupting the momentum you'd created at your desk.
2. Because you've completed something and not yet begun the next task there isn't as strong a subliminal pull back to your desk. You're therefore more liable to be distracted by some interesting little by-way, a file that catches your eye, or someone else walking past.
To overcome that scenario, try this one instead. You finish a task and put the completed materials either on the furthest away point of your desk out of your immediate visual range, or even better (as long as it doesn't cause a traffic jam!) put them on the floor beside or behind your chair. The next time you stand up, instead of stepping over the seeming clutter on the floor you ALWAYS bend down, pick it up, and put it away.
I learned this technique as a mother, trying to stay sane raising six children. (Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I'd share it with business people!).
Whilst the children were little, (and anyone who's lived with children knows they have a profound disregard for tidiness) I found that, in a drive to keep the house looking a few notches above a war zone, I seemed to spend all day putting things away! Eventually I learnt to make piles 'to be put away in another room' by the door of any room I was working in. Then, as I walked out the door I'd pick up the pile, quickly zip around the house by the shortest possible route (implementing my own time and motion exercise) and put everything away. It was vastly more efficient than running around the house with each separate item.

Apply the same technique in your office, no matter how large or small, and you'll gain great time-savings. It may seem a slightly untidy way of working but in fact it's very efficient.

Even though there is a slight delay, you are still putting things away as you go - whilst they're fresh in your mind. It's rarely longer than 30 minutes before you put away your current crop of 'stuff'. You never end up with an intimidating pile of filing (and I've seen some mountains!). Over a year many hours are saved - you don't walk around unnecessarily. If it's filing, you don't need to spend time re-familiarising yourself with the item or paper in hand, but it hasn't interrupted your flow of activity.

Bottom line - it saves you spending 'the rest of your natural life' majoring in minor things.

.....................................
Author: Robyn Pearce You can contact Robyn at robyn@gettingagrip.com and her website is http://www.gettingagrip.com You can check ou the back issues of these Top Time Tips or the Discussion Board.

,

Organise your desk to work for you

Your desk means a lot to you. It may be the place of your greatest creativity, or your most decisive business decisions. It may be the place that is the hub of your home management systems. It may be a sanctuary, an engine room or a creativity generator.

But if it is covered in piles of paper and other bits and pieces; if it is overflowing and ugly, then all of that creativity, efficiency and productivity is jeopardised, stifled and just plain difficult.

You know that, I know that, and we also know that the solution is to tidy it so that we can find things; make it attractive so that we are motivated; and to implement systems so that it stays that way. But somehow action to create this solution is a bit slow in coming. We are so busy doing the things we do at the desk to find the time to tidy it and set those systems in place.

The answer lies in one simple motivation – focus on the advantages. Visualise the desk as it could be, should be. Focus on how smoothly you will complete your tasks there and what a pleasant experience it will be.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Clean Your Desk

messy-deskYou’re winding down your week, and this weekend you won’t be cramming in work during every free block of time that pops up. You’re taking the weekend off. Good for you! But how do you put your work aside and forget about it…oh, and wouldn’t it be nice to avoid the Sunday evening dread about what you will be facing in the morning?

As simple as it sounds, clearing off your desk before you shut down for the week can do wonders for your enjoyment of your work-free weekend. And it can generate feelings of preparedness for Monday. Take it one step further and adopt a more organized and consistent approach to your working environment, and you may find that you are happier, less stressed, and even more productive.

So, why does a clean and organized desk help deal with overwhelm? The answer is as simple as the concept: >>>