January 9, 2019
I imagine I am not alone in thinking about getting organized in the New Year. My 4th grade teacher told my mom that I was the most organized child she had ever seen (and far more organized than most adults she knew, even though she owned a business and was in politics in addition to teaching). Given that endorsement, I knew I better get back to living up to my 4th grade teacher’s praises, and so after returning from Arizona where my mom and I organized a major portion of the house that required focused attention since my dad passed away a few years ago, I decided I’d return to organization by early January. I am > 90% there!
Why does being organized matter? I have found that you are faster, on top of critical topics and focused when organized. As my mom used to complain about her situation, she would have a piece of paper one minute, walk into another room, and it would disappear. Now she is talking about “everything having a place”. It could save you countless hours over the course of a year. Do you have extra time to look for papers or files? Worse yet, are you satisfied providing less than optimal answers and responses because you can’t find it?
One tip to implement this week:
As much as I enjoy that my 4th grade teacher appreciated my organization, it isn’t rocket science. Do you categorize information so that you can find it later? If it is in the computer, is it searchable by key word? Try using easy systems a 4th grader would understand. Color code so you can find what you need easily. Clean up your area so you don’t have to go through sift through clutter. Get rid of junk. If you haven’t used it for a year, do you really think you’ll use it now? Actually one of my global consulting strategy group members prompted me into action on this topic. His garage was more organized than anything I have ever seen. I figured the least I could do was get my work area into good shape after seeing his garage!
Don’t be afraid to spend wisely. My APICS Inland Empire Board of Directors group has APICS-IE emails; however, they forwarded to our personal emails. One of our key members changed jobs at the end of the year, and that prompted us to decide we should upgrade to Microsoft 365 so that we would have a natural archive (and don’t need to spend hours looking for invoices, class rosters and the like in mountains of emails). Worse yet, if someone was sick or changed jobs and didn’t send the files to another board member, we would lose critical information. We are organizing as well! The same is true for the storage of files. If you can’t easily access files, search and upload/ download, is the $16 you save really worth it? NO!
Start small and find a relevant pile and organize it. These “small things” add up. Soon, you’ll have saved a week. By the end of the year, perhaps you’ll have saved a month! Imagine what you’ll do with the extra time.