The Top 10 Habits of Organized People

Have you ever wondered how some people seem to have "it all together ? all the time," while you struggle with deadlines, misplace items, and run late for appointments? Are you interested in learning the secrets to their organizing success? If so, implement the following strategies and you too will experience the joy of more focus, time and success.

1. Assign a place to keep all of your belongings.

Isn't it interesting that we never misplace our car (except in a big parking lot). It's because we've chosen to designate a space for it ? the garage. Allocate a room and a specific drawer, shelf, basket, or other container for each kind of possession. Keep like things together and store each type of item closest to the place where you will be using it.

2. Design processes to manage paper flow.

We have more information delivered to us on a daily basis than ever before so it is imperative that you set up systems to touch paper once and keep each type of document where you know you will be able to find it. For example: When at home, collect your mail from the mailbox and immediately toss the junk, place all invoices in a special container (throw away any promotional material included with the invoice), file important documents right away, and place magazines into their own container (be sure to pitch the oldest issue).

3. Know how long to keep important papers.

Educate yourself using the guide at the following web address to determine what to keep and for how long. Then shred all unnecessary documents. http://www.oprah.com/foodhome/home/housekeeping/print/home_print_200409_chart.jhtml

4. Regularly, dispose of items that are broken, torn, stained, or haven't been used for a period of time.

Purging items that have lost their usefulness will make it easier to find what you want ? when you want it plus, give you room to store new items should you purchase more. You can toss items, sell them, or donate them to your favorite charitable organization.

5. Put each item away as soon as you are through using it.

Avoid the mentality?"I'll set this down for now, it's just temporary." All too often, temporary turns into days, days turn into months and soon you'll have a mountain of stuff to sort through. You have a choice?a minute now or hours later.

6. Use a calendar.

A calendar is a great tool if you use it consistently. For instance, it's harder to overbook yourself when you only have 24 hours per day on your calendar. More importantly it requires that you make choices?you can't do it all and be successful. Try this strategy:

  • Make a list of all your goals. Put them in PRIORITY order, from most important to least important.
  • Estimate how much time it will take to complete each goal.
  • Fill in the current month of your calendar with your PRIORITY goals. (For example: work 8 - 5, Monday through Friday; family time 11 - 3, Sunday; personal development 7 ? 8, Tuesday and Wednesday; gym 5:30 ? 6:30, Monday through Thursday; etc.)
  • If there is still space in your calendar, record more goals from your list.
  • When your calendar is full, look at the goals left on your list and decide if you can delegate or dismiss them, if not, record them on successive months of your calendar. This will keep you from feeling guilty as you have assigned a time and place to tackle these other things and you don't have to worry about forgetting them.

7. Only buy new items when you have sufficient space to display them, store them, or you are prepared to let something else go.

Its false economics for you to keep buying more stuff if you can't see, easily access, or enjoy it.

8. Say, "No thank you" to family and friends who want to give you their excess.

If your parents or friends are downsizing or moving and offer to give you a number of household items, don't take them into your home unless you love them and will use them immediately.

9. Organize everything in your life.

Organizing isn't a one time task, it's a habit. You will reap the greatest rewards if you organize everything in your grasp: your space, your time, your projects, your briefcase, your calls, your errands, your purse, your computer, your play time, etc.

10. Adjust your organizing system for new and changing circumstances.

You would make adjustments in your life if you lost your job. The same is required of your organizational system if your circumstances change. Adjust for a new baby, new projects, another hobby, loss of an assistant, or a dependent leaving the nest.

Your environment isn't just any ole space. It's your safe place, creative place, productivity place, and the place that reflects what you value most and supports your interests and lifestyle. Honor it, organize it, give it the attention it deserves and you will be amazed with the results.

Pam N. Woods is co-author of a bestselling book, Create the Business Breakthrough You Want: Secrets and Strategies from the World's Greatest Mentors; endorsed by Ken Blanchard and Dr. Stephen Covey. She is a Coach U graduate and President of Smart WorkLife Solutions, a coaching and consulting company devoted to co-creating customized solutions to fit clients business and personal organizing needs. Prior to founding her own firm she had a successful 20+ year career as an insurance executive and Vice President of Human Resources. For more free how-to articles and advice, or to contact Woods, visit http://www.worklifecoach.com. Copyright 2004 - Pam Woods

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