My Top 5 Tips for Keeping Your Ish Organized:
- Paper files are for suckers. Everything should be electronic, not least of which because desktop search has improved so dramatically. You'll find it MUCH faster on your computer than you ever could in a file cabinet.
- But keeping things electronically doesn't give you an excuse to be a slob there, either. Select a convention for organizing directories and naming your files and STICK TO IT. And don't keep the 9000 drafts you went through. Once you have the final, delete the drafts. You think you'll need them later. You won't.
- You're still going to have SOME paper. Have an inbox. ONE inbox. Once a week, go through it and immediately: file, recycle, reading pile. Reading pile is not for single sheets of paper - it's for things like magazines and newsletters. File or recycle everything else.
- Email: turn off your new message alert. Check email a few times a day and immediately: answer, file, create a task in your task list. No "I'll deal with this later." It IS later, right now. That's why you're only answering email a few times a day. Bonus? A decent amount of the situations will have resolved themselves because you didn't jump the second the email came in, because your alerts were turned off.
- Turn off pretty much all the alerts on your smart phone, too. All it's going to do is distract you. What do you REALLY need to know about right when it comes in? It's probably not much more than text messages and calls, particularly if you're only checking your email a few times a day. Turn everything else off.