Why wait until January of 2018 to get your ducks in a row?
Get organized NOW.
Here are some simple strategies for organizing your disheveled life.
Problem: Your desk looks like the Tasmanian Devil had a rager and invited five of his closest friends. You can't find your pen refill and your planner is buried under yesterday's mail. Also, where's the coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond? You can't find it anywhere.
Solution: TAKE FIVE! Set a timer for five minutes and force yourself to tackle the paper mountain currently hiding your desktop from view. Throw out empty envelopes, completed to-do lists or Post-it notes. Tuck any coupons, mailers that need attention into your planner and jot them onto your to-do list. Make a "file pile" and at the end of your 5 minutes, GO FILE THEM. Do not pass go, do not collect a donut at the temp's desk.
Problem: Your planner has become a catch-all for a neverending to-do list that never gets DONE. Even if you could decipher your handwriting, you have no idea how to prioritize what's most important.
Solution: STOP. Stick a Post-it note in your planner and write down the three most important things you need to do today. I don't mean the 1 PM meeting--that will happen whether you want it to or not. (You don't.) I'm talking about the deadline that's two weeks from now that you MUST make progress on. The update to your website you've put off so many weeks in a row, you're tired of writing it on next week's list... and the next. Every other miscellaneous to-do can wait--do your top 3 first.
Problem: That to-do that will. not. go. away. Example: You have written the "find orthodontist near me" in your planner for 4 weeks running.
Solution: Break down the to-do down to its smallest task, i.e., the thing that's holding you back. In the orthodontist example, maybe you aren't sure who's covered by your insurance, or maybe you're not sure who's any good. Figure out what's stalling the process and jot down the easiest, fastest way to move forward. Example: Email three trusted friends for information on their orthodontist... or... Google orthos in my area and call to find out if they accept my insurance.
Problem: You have ten-million contacts in your digital address book (most duplicates) and have no idea which ones are current.
Solution: Break the task down into small chunks. Today you conquer A-C, tomorrow D-F, and so on. Once you have some momentum, you'll be through the alphabet before you know it. Not sure if your info is accurate? Send a quick email to your mother-in-law or to the best friend who switched apartments last year to make sure you're up to date. Tip: Allow extra time for the really packed letters. (For me it's L and M.)
Problem: You hate everything about your office and your desk. It makes you dread going to work.
Solution: If it's your job that you truly hate, I'm afraid I can't help you in a this post, but if it's a solution that can be remedied by a trip to your local office supply store (or IKEA), you're in luck. Bad lighting, dust, or a broken chair can make your office downright uninhabitable. Or at least miserable. Make a list of everything you love about your current setup and everything you hate. My solution to my super expensive chair that didn't line up with my desk comfortably was a $15 foot rest that raised my feet about 5" off the ground. My issue with the crappy LED bendy lamps was to replace it with a high-wattage decorative lamp with a cream-colored shade to mute the glare. I also replaced the low-quality file cabinet I had for one that matched my office and featured drawers that open and close smoothly.
Organizing takes time, but not as much time as you're thinking. Schedule 5-minute bursts and you'll make a dent! (Or so I keep reminding myself when it comes to starting to weed through the photos in my phone...)