So we're a few weeks into the new year..... You've got all your year-end paperwork done, files are boxed up and put in storage and your 2017 files are set up and ready to use.
.....Now that you're done rolling on the floor laughing, I'll get serious. Organizing your office will help you save time and money. There's actually a term for this - it's called Organomics®. According to Organomics.com, Organomics® is:
- a set of principles that guide people to organize their world based on personality, preference, and work style;
- a path to freedom experienced by individuals who discover the organizer within;
- a combination of ergonomics and organization. Ergonomics is the science of the relationship between the worker and the environment. Organization involves arranging, processing, and systemizing. It is the act of forming an orderly, functional, structured whole.
Despite the trend to email instead of snail mail, using the cloud, and paperless statements, we haven't become a paperless society and I don't think we ever will. I for one do not trust the cloud or its providers enough to send all of my information there and not have a hard copy paper back up. Call me old fashioned....................
What is Delayed Decision Disorder (DDD)?
Where there is an office, there are files. Where there are files, there are inevitably piles. There is also Delayed Decision Disorder (DDD). According to our good friends at Smead®, Delayed Decision Disorder is not a medically correct term, but it is precisely what is found at the bottom of every pile of paper, every piece of unprocessed mail and every box or bin labeled "miscellaneous" that takes up valuable square footage. Symptoms include piles of paper, cluttered desktops, stacks of receipts, business cards, bulging file cabinets and the like. Causes include procrastination, loss of focus, inadequate or non-existent systems, uncompleted tasks, not knowing what to keep and what to toss out and not having proper supplies or adequate space.
DDD starts when you say to yourself, "I'll do this later." Or you're too busy or you get side-tracked. You know the drill. We've all been there. Smead® says that it's important to understand that DDD is not the occasional procrastination - it is a pattern that extends over a period of time. What happens then is the creation of piles. Disorganization results in decreased productivity, wasted time and possibly the loss of clients or sales.
The solution? Get organized.
But how, you ask? There are so many different filing products out there - interior folders, hanging folders, expanding files, classification folders......STOP! I CAN'T HANDLE IT! THERE ARE TOO MANY CHOICES!
Take a deep breath. You can do this. Keep Calm and Read On:
Smead's 10 Steps to Overcoming DDD
- Make timely decisions
- Set up systems to process paperwork effectively
- Implement systems that simplify life
- Follow through on tasks
- Eliminate excess and unnecessary possessions
- Commit to starting and finishing projects, or delegate them
- Allocate the necessary time to clear clutter
- Allocate the necessary time to maintain order
- Become very intentional about what is brought into your home or office
- Seek the help of a professional organizer
I'm going to focus on point #2 - Set up systems to process paperwork effectively. Smead® has a fantastic section of their website that is devoted to Organomics - please take a look at it. You will find many useful tips and tools there. The first thing that you need to determine is whether you are right-brained or left-brained. Yep - that's what I said. Take this quick quiz:
I found myself to be a mixture of the two when I took it, but my final score says I'm more left-brained. You wouldn't guess that if you looked at my desk. Anyway, if you are right-brained, color coding your files is one way to help you get organized. Right-brained people are more visual than left-brained and they benefit from a workspace that uses lots of color. The visual stimulation helps them remember where they put the info they are looking for. Here's a short video about color coding that you might find helpful.
If you turned out to be left-brained like me, Smead® says we benefit from a workspace that has everything properly filed in drawers, desk tray, step sorters and the like. Left-brained people like to use numbered or lettered index systems. One item that may be useful to us is the Stadium File. This is an expanding file that you could keep on your desktop to keep those frequently accessed papers out of sight but still have them close by and convenient. The Stadium File isn't one level like other accordion files; it's stepped, so each pocket is a little higher than the preceding one - like the steps in a stadium.
There are 12 tiered pockets and the file is extra wide so that you can file both papers and folders. The tiers are fixed, so your papers stay visible. It comes in a couple of different versions - the one shown above is the one I've been testing. It's a well-constructed item with an attractive leatherette cover. When I first started using it, I was concerned that it would fall over if it wasn't positioned against a cubicle wall because it didn't seem to be very steady, but that turned out to be untrue. It stands quite well regardless of whether it has only a few papers in it or a lot of papers - it just needed to loosen up after being taken out of the package. The pockets are quite roomy. Each pocket has 3 tabs on it for indexing and it comes with a sheet of preprinted tab labels (numbers, alpha, months and home categories). Now of course, if you put a file folder in the pocket, the folder will cover up the tab on the Stadium File, so you will use the folder tab as your index instead of the Stadium File tab (like you see in the picture). And if you're going to mix paper and folders in the same Stadium File, you will want to file the loose papers in the lower level pockets and the file folders in the upper pockets.
I have only one complaint about this product and I hope that all the major file manufacturers read my blog and see it because it applies to some of their products as well - there are no tabs on the front and back walls of the item, so you lose the ability to properly use one of the pockets. If you file behind the tab like I do, you lose the front pocket and if you file in front of the tab, you lose the back pocket. Of course, you can still put things in those pockets, but you can't label them because there are no tabs on the front or back wall of the file and no slots in either wall in which to insert a tab. So then you won't know what's in that pocket at a glance - you'l have to pull it out and look at it. Kind of defeats the purpose of the item, you know?
This concludes today's lesson on Organomics®. I hope you've found it useful.