Tips to organize
By Ranka Burzan
WHEN STARTING A new venture, most business
owners are excited, passionate and committed to
making their business productive and profitable.
Very soon after, many people realize that, in order
to make a profit, they have to organize their papers,
books and office supplies. Without a proper and
very simple filing system, the paper clutter will take
over and productivity will diminish.
Studies have shown that people are losing significant time each day due to disorganization. And,
while many would like to get organized and be more
productive, they just don’t know where to start.
Many fear discarding old reference books or other
books that may be needed one day. Boxes of old files
can stack up quickly, and exercise equipment that
hasn’t been used in years may become a coat hanger.
Overflowing wastebaskets can be overwhelming. You
may end up feeling stuck instead of inspired.
People use only 20 percent of their belongings,
which includes papers. Keep that in mind when you
start your organizing mission. Here are some simple
and practical tips to help you get your office organized,
increase your productivity and enhance your sanity.
• The first step: Estimate the time. When it
comes to organizing, most of us underestimate or
overestimate the actual time it will take to complete
the project. Office organizing could easily take days.
It’s important to choose the time to start. Be very
specific— e.g., Saturday from 10 to noon. Make
sure to have plenty of garbage bags, recycling boxes
and a couple of cardboard boxes. You don’t have to do
it all at once; break it up into manageable time frames.
•Get rid of things that don’t belong in your
office: unused furniture, the treadmill you haven’t
used in years, the many boxes of stuff from your
favorite aunt, the unfinished projects and ideas.
• Consider recruiting a “gopher” or “go-fer.” A
gopher runs items to another room, puts things away
and generally helps to keep you focused on the job at
hand. If you have kids they make excellent gophers—
and they're learning important life skills. Otherwise,
book a friend or colleague to help you.
• With a plastic container, walk through your
office and collect all the loose papers, old magazines, old travel brochures, any catalogs going back
a few years, old grocery receipts, etc.
•Sort papers according to their importance:
new bills, invoices to send out, key projects and
THE CONNECTION asked
readers for tips on organizing
their home and office. Here are
some helpful ideas.
I am a professional psychic.
You would think that I would
already know where everything is supposed to go. Well,
that is not the case.
I have a collection of articles and paper memories. I put
them in stackable, colorful,
see-through plastic containers.
I look through the containers
once a month—and only for
an hour. The time constraint
I apply my “Rules of
1. Would anyone else
miss this piece of paper?
2. Would anyone else
benefit from this piece of
3. Would I really miss
this piece of paper?
4. Is it worth scanning
and saving electronically?
If I answer yes to any of
these questions, I take action.
Otherwise, the item sees the
inside of the recycle bin.
My best tip is that five file
trays should handle everything that crosses your desk:
1. To file
2. To pay
3. To read
4. To do
The trick is in creating a
system that works for you for
clearing those files, or else
they can pile up.
I cannot part with old
notes, stories, clippings, etc. I
found a system to keep all
those items within reach of my
desktop: Use Microsoft One-
Note to store all the items.
Scan each paper, send it
to your email and save it as a
PDF in OneNote. Once you
have done this you can easily
retrieve and print anything
you may need in the future.
Kathleen J. Dowdell
Avon Lake, Ohio
The Costco Connection
Costco sells a variety of desks, filing cabinets and
office supplies in the warehouses and online at
Costco.com to help you get your office organized.
special section furniture
“Studies have shown
that people are losing
significant time each day
due to disorganization.”
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