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    Women Business Leaders: Your Messy Desk Has Got to Go!

    Your Messy Desk Has Got to Go!

    Photo by: Wanderingone

    Not only is a messy desk indicative of being disorganized, it also creates internal turmoil. I know, as a woman business leader and business owner, I can become overwhelmed with office clutter. I don’t know about you, but having a messy desk with towering stacks of papers, files, books, magazines and “important” folders waiting to engulf me makes me feel frustrated and powerless.

    To reclaim your peace of mind, try some of these tips I found in an article on “Controlling Paperwork: Digging Out From Under” by Odette Pollar.

    Take control
    This is easier said than done, I know, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Odette explains that you just have to dive in and take control, create an organized paper flow, try color-coding files and actually USE the “in” and “out” baskets as they were intended!

    What does your in box look like?
    I’m sure you’ve read tips on managing the “in-box” nightmare before, but it pays to really put forth the effort to institute a plan of action. Odette notes that the best way to do this is to use the in box as it was intended— NOT as a filing system, a nagging reminder of what you are not doing, a substitute cork board or to-do list. She also makes a good point when she explains that the in-box system is not working for you if:

    • You don’t really have one, but use your entire desk as an in box
    • You have one, but you find yourself rifling through it many times a day
    • Everyone knows not to put something in your in basket, because they’ll never see it again
    • The only way to get you to notice an important file or report is to place it on your chair

    Make a to-do list and a reading file
    In box strategies Odette suggests are creating a to-do list and a reading file, and she claims it will take only 15 minutes a day if you follow her suggestions.

    To do list

    • Odette explains that the in-box procedure requires sorting, filing, delegating and tracking its contents
    • It does not mean you have to complete every single item that ends up in the in box!
    • Create a system where each item in the in box that needs action goes into a file folder, but each time you create a file, it needs to noted on the to-do list
    • Every item placed in a file is recorded on the to-do list to prevent that task from falling through the cracks

    Reading file

    • Items needing more than a quick decision or scan need to go into a reading file
    • Scan and save material that needs thorough reading for the reading file (if you tried to read through everything in the in box, you’d never get any work done!)
    • Schedule reading time in 30-minute increments, several times a week to help break up the reading time into manageable blocks of time

    Remember, if your in box gets too full and your feel you can’t manage it, go through the oldest items first and make a decision to either save it for reading or action, or toss it if it’s not absolutely necessary to the business at hand. It seems ruthless, but cutting through the clutter is the only way to get out of the messy-desk rut.

    3 Responses to “Women Business Leaders: Your Messy Desk Has Got to Go!”

    1. [...] Skills I’ve commented on the “messy desk” syndrome in previous blogs, and I think it is worth revisiting. It’s easy to let the physical [...]

    2. Paula says:

      Great steps, I definitely needed this reminder today!

    3. Great post and so true. I can’t function when my desk is a mess. It stirs up feelings of inadequacy and wastes so much time.

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