I love to write, but I can only write in an organized setting. If my desk is piled high, the many tasks represented by the pile shout out louder than the urge to write. Once I signed the contract to co-create Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on Grandparenting and Not Your Mother’s Book . . . on Parenting for Publishing Syndicate, I knew I had to take control of my office.
First of all, I took small piles from my desk and sorted them on the dining room table. Things were so out of control that I couldn’t tell what was important and what was not. As I spread out the papers on the table, I placed the garbage on a chair. I was surprised at how much of the paperwork on my desk was unneeded!
Once I had cleared my office desk and had sorted my work into piles on the table, I was able to prioritize. That doesn’t mean I actually dealt with the most important things first. To me, it was more important to get rid of some of the clutter. I took care of several of the easy things, and once there were fewer piles, I didn’t feel so overwhelmed.
Next, I bought a wide binder. I filled it with colored pocket-pages, red for priority, green for things to do soon, blue for things that can wait, and white for things to do if I ever really get caught up. I then placed the stacks from the table into the appropriate pockets. Ah, I felt so much better when I was done. I still had the same amount of work to do, but it was all contained in one binder.
Now, as soon as a piece of paper hits my desk, I try to place it into the appropriate pocket of the binder. Each day, I start with the red pockets and then I don’t have to worry about forgetting to take care of something urgent.
In my home office, I take care of our wholesale business, our commercial office rentals, our personal paperwork, and my writing. That means having places for everything. Most of my desk drawers had already been filled with customer files, but I cleaned out one of those inexpensive three-drawer plastic storage cabinets. I found that I had important things in the top drawer, things that I use every day, but the bottom two drawers were full of things that had outlived their usefulness. I cleaned out those two drawers and now use one for each of the NYMB books. As I read and rate a story for Publishing Syndicate’s new anthology series, I print the stories and place them in the appropriate drawer for either NYMB on Parenting or NYMB on Grandparenting.
I probably print far too many things from the Internet, and sometimes my desk chokes on those papers. They get mixed up with other paperwork, and then I’m in trouble. To the left of my printer, I added a two-tier basket, the top tier for everything I print that I don’t take care of right away and the bottom tier for things I need to put away. I previously combined my in basket and my out basket in one wire basket, and as you can imagine, that did not work!
It’s a lot more relaxing to work in my office now that I am better organized. I am actually updating my blog, which I could seldom get around to with a mountain of paperwork haunting me. Ah, it looks so good in here now that I think I’m going to Tweet and then check Facebook. There’s nothing in my red file page, so I don’t even have to feel guilty.