How to beat the physical graffiti
Do you remember your mother saying, 'Pick up your clothes (or books, or toys, or whatever)?
Funny thing is, a modified version of the same philosophy - 'Put it away as you go' - applies at the highest level of business. Perhaps it's because our mothers told us to do it that so many seemingly well-organised, highly paid and otherwise neatly turned-out adults ignore this sage piece of advice!
How many desks do you see covered with dead trees and miscellaneous equipment? How many drawers and cupboards hide a fascinating selection of junk? How many factories and workshops have areas with an embarrassing mess of lurking clutter? What's the archival storage room like? (And how about your home garage?)
Piles of 'stuff' are physical graffiti, a visible sign of deferred decisions.
Next time you open the mail, pick up a file or handle any object, take a second to decide where it needs to go before it jumps out of your hand. This is not to say that you major in minor things, running around all day putting things away. However, once the decision is made you can safely put things in a pile (either on the floor beside you, or just out of eye range to avoid distraction) and quickly put them away the next time you stand up. If you think you'll forget your decision, pencil the destination on the top right-hand corner of the paper or attach a temporary post-it note.
The trick is - don't let yourself leave your workstation without the latest 'put-away' material. Whilst the action is still fresh in your mind you will only take seconds to put things away. Someone's waiting? Even the most important person will wait 30 seconds; you'll feel efficient; and it feels great when you walk back in to your tidy office.
About the author: Robyn Pearce, of TimeLogic
Corporation, has helped 1000's of folks in 'Getting a grip on their time'.
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The original version of this article can be found at www.positivepath.net/ideasRP4.asp