Establishing the Habit of Decluttering
In Chapter 8, "Tackling Paper," you’ll learn about the value of a document retention policy. Here, let’s say your company does have a solid document retention policy in place but your office is still cluttered with paper. What can you do to control it while still having what you need within easy reach? One thing you can do is to establish a habit of decluttering your space regularly. This small step will go a long way toward keeping your office organized for the long term, as well as reinforcing positive, new work habits for you.
Schedule a small chunk of time to regularly review the paper that is lurking in your office and handle it appropriately—file it, act on it, schedule action for it, discard it, or delegate it. Regularly reviewing and processing the paper in your office means you will never again have to go to the effort of sifting through mountainous heaps of paper that are months and sometimes years old.
Taking a small amount of time to declutter paper buildup on a consistent basis is more effective than taking an entire day each quarter to deal with it. Doing a little bit every day takes only a few minutes, whereas if you put it off for later, you saddle yourself with a long and arduous task you’ll probably only be able to do on a weekend, when you’d rather be relaxing at home. You’ll learn more specifically how to deal with paper flow in Chapter 8.
Being organized includes using your time wisely, so regularly schedule small slots of time to maintain your organization. Begin by doing weekly paper review and cleaning off your desk each Friday before leaving for the weekend. After you discover the productivity and confidence-boosting benefits of coming in to a clean, organized desk on Monday morning, you are likely to start cleaning off your desk every day before leaving work.