Have a “Catch All” Place

Throughout the week, I receive many assorted things that I have to deal with. These are things like random letters and mail, samples, or really anything else. These things often irritate me because they do not have a home in my office, and end up becoming clutter. I have found one way that helps me to deal with these things, however. What I do is keep a space open just for these items. This way, when I receive a letter or something else that I cannot deal with at the moment, I can have it neatly put away in this place. I even have a little basket that I put all of these things in to keep them all together. This place also serves as a holding place when I take a break, am interrupted, or have to divert my attention. I can easily just throw some files in here, and easily pick them up when I return or can get back to them. My only warning is to make sure that this space does not become too overfilled, black hole for all of your papers, but if you can prevent that, this will become a great way to help keep you organized.

Unfinished Projects

Unfinished projects can cause the level of organization in your home office to drop.  Having many unfinished projects all around your home office can make it seem very unorganized and distracting. Quite often little piles of unfinished work will build up around the office, and make it harder to find things. Personally, I find this more distracting mentally than it is having piles. My mind will often get cluttered with the things I know I have to do, and keep me from concentration on the tasks at hand. When I sit down to work on something, I often end up thinking about all of the other things that I still have to finish.

Sometimes there is nothing that you can do about these unfinished projects, and circumstances you cannot control prevent you from completing something. This is when you have to deal with what you have. Keep all of your unfinished projects together in one place. I find that keeping a folder or manila envelope for each project helps to keep me organized. I can then keep those together, and when I feel the urge to complete one of the projects, I can easily get to them. Also, it is very satisfying to see when your pile of things to do slowly dwindles down. So next time you have unfinished projects and can’t finish them at the moment, keep them organized, and working on other project will be much easier.

Books Online

You probably have a lot of books in your office, and that is not neccessarily a bad thing. It is, however, a bad thing if you rarely use some of them. Having a book that you aren’t constantly using takes up valuable space. There is a solution though. Search the book online to see if there is an online version on a site like Google books. If you find the book online, save it as a bookmark and get rid of the hard copy. This will help you to clear room on your bookshelf making it easier to organize and find books. You may also want only do this for books you don’t use often, because it may be hard to use an online book all the time. Check and see if there is an online version you could use before you go out and buy the actual book, that way you save money and trees. Online books can be great space, tree, and money savers, but they can sometimes have drawbacks.

More Free Time

pencil-ballBeing organized has lots of upsides. One of the best advantages of organization is free time. If your office is organized well you can find things much easier and you won’t have to search. Who knows, you might even have enough free time to create a piece of artwork like the one above.

image from fdecomite at flickr

A Dry Erase Board

dry-eraseDry erase boards can come in all different sizes and shapes and can be very useful.  They are also versatile and can be done to fit your needs. For example, you could get one with a calendar on it and write upcoming events. Another idea is to separate it into categories for your to-do list. Having a large dry erase board on your wall allows you to see all of the things that you need to do. I have a dry erase board on my wall that is about 4 feet by 3 feet. Right now I have it separated into categories with my to-do list on it. Also, it is very satisfying to go to it and erase things off it. The versatility of dry erase boards it great because while now mine is separated into categories, next week I could have one big list or make a calendar on it. The only thing limiting your choices is your imagination. Another thing you could do is use different color markers. This makes it visually more appealing while being more functional. You could have green things less urgent to complete and red items more urgent. Another thing dry erase boards are useful for is figuring out problems. For example, if you are trying to design a layout for something you can try multiple options on the board and just erase them if you don’t like them. You can just keep redoing the layout until you like it.  My dry erase board is one of my favorite and most used office accessories.

image from veganstraightedge at flickr

Finding A Calendar

Having a to-do list is very important to being organized, but a good calendar is just as important. There are many different types of calendars available and which one you get depends on your preference. One option is the monthly desk top kind. This one is good because it allows you to see what you have planned all at once and quickly find upcoming events. It also has negatives. One is that the little squares may not be enough room to put all of your things that you have to do. Another type of calendar is the book or planner type. This allows you to have lots of things on each day and most even have times pre-printed. However it is difficult to find things that you have going on in the upcoming weeks. It can be hard to find a meeting that you have planned weeks in advance. No matter what type of calendar you choose, make sure you find one that works for you. Planning ahead and writing events down is essential to maintaining organization.

New Year’s Resolution: Get Organized

It is almost the New Year and time to start thinking about a new year’s resolution, if you haven’t already. You could make 2009 your year to get yourself organized. As I stress a lot on this blog, organization is very important, and can make your life a little less stressful. So getting your office organized could also make 2009 better. If getting organized is going to be your New Year’s resolution you have to make sure you can keep it. There are many ways to keep organized. Start off the new year by cleaning out all of the unneccessary stuff you have in your office. Then make a new system that is easy to use, so you can finally keep that new year’s resolution. Also, check out this blog because there are new ideas and tips all the time. Happy New Year, and good luck with your resolution.