Break the Rules of Good Organization to Get Ahead

The new year brings with it resolutions to organize your office by creating endless files, cleaning off your desk and even cleaning your computer screen.

However, if you're like most business professionals, some or all of these tasks already have gone by the wayside.

The rules have changed for organization, and the way to get ahead is not by cleaning up your desk, but by organizing projects according to deadlines. Here are a few more tips that shed light on very untraditional modes of succeeding by Jan Jasper, an east coast consultant.

  • Cleaning off your desk can actually interfere with efficiency; it's far more important to have a good system for getting your work done than it is to have a clean desk.

  • "Handle each piece of paper only once" is bad advice. But DO make a decision or take an action each time you handle a paper.

  • Avoid binders: If you don't have time to file, where will you find the time to hole-punch?

  • Sticky notes are useful planning tools. Used properly, they are a helpful adjunct to your appointment book, and are very useful when mapping out steps toward a goal.

  • Establish "communication-free times" when you don't answer the phone or respond to e-mail. To be productive, you need times when you can work without interruption.

  • Filing alphabetically is rarely a good idea. You're better off filing by category or purpose - placing related items together, regardless of where they fall in the alphabet.

    For other tips, Jasper's book, Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information & Technology is ideal reading.

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