Being forgetful or disorganized is not a good sign of leading a healthy mind and a successful life. The misplacement of files, documents, even where you left your keys this morning will prevent you from achieving your goals. How much time do you think the average American wastes looking for a misplaced paper? There are reports that state that approximately 150 hours are wasted a year looking for misplaced papers (Approximately 3 work weeks of the the year).
Why is it important to be organized?
1. It saves time – you do not waste time shuffling through papers.
2. You have more control of your spare time and space – the time that is otherwise wasted looking for the misplaced document can now be used stress free on other aspects of your life.
3. You will stress less when you can locate things easily.
4. You will get more tasks done – same as number two above, you can reinvest the time wasted in looking for misplaced documents and use it productively to increase your income and wealth.
5. When you are organized, you will feel better, and you will have more time for other things.
One aspect of being organized that few people talk about is that we are not all wired the same way. In other words, since we are not wired the same way, we do not process and store information the same way. One book I recommend that you read that will assist you in establishing an organizational style based on your personality is How to Get Organized in Spite of Yourself by Sunny Schlenger. This is the perfect resource for the modern age of fast-paced business and life styles. The conclusion made on this book is that just one organizational system is not for everyone. This is the reason why we see so many people that succeed with one system and many others that fail and quit at it.
Two of the personalities discussed in Mr. Schlenger’s book are :
1. Some people like to have everything put away neatly.
2. Others like to have everything where they can see it.
Let me make one thing clear, all of these organizational methods are good; they just have to fit your personality. If you try to get organized in a way that is contrary to your personality, you will have difficulty staying organized because it is unnatural to you.
How do people that like to have everything out can get organized?
1. Use bins or trays that are labeled, so any papers you accumulate can be sorted immediately. For example, you can have a bin or space on your desk labeled: “Homework Due Immediately”, “Material to Study for Exams”, and “Graded Assignments”.
2. You can also use color coded papers and assigments according to importance, relevance, due dates, etc.
3. Use bulletin boards/message boards. You should use one board for messages and reminders and a different board for your drawings/sketches.
4. Use clear containers. For example, you can use clear bags, clear notebook dividers, clear folders for storing supplies and papers. They are organized and you can still see them.
How do people that like to have nothing out can get organized?
1. Filing. Any type of paper that you handle on a regular basis should have its own, accessible space. For example, create a folder for each of the projects so that you can read it from the opposite side of the room.
2. Keep these files in the same place all the time. This way, they are out of sight, but always know exactly where they are.
3. Use a day planner. This way you can write everything down, but it is out of sight.
Conclusion, arrange files in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Don’t worry if other people don’t understand your method. Make sure that you can find any paper you need in 3 minutes or less. If you cannot accomplish this, your system needs to change.