Category: Organizing Space

When it comes to getting and staying organized one challenge is the #1 culprit, paper, also known as, the paper tiger.  This is true for both home and work environments.  If you’re challenged with clutter, look at the clutter to see what percentage of your clutter is paper.  Of all the things that can possibly clutter any given space, paper usually paper comes out on top, not that it’s a good thing.

The paper tiger comes about for several reasons: people keep documents that are no longer relevant or that they don’t need, they don’t have a system in place for dealing with paper or their filing system is inadequate and usually they aren’t aware that paper falls into one of three categories-action, reference or archive.  No matter what your challenge is, there is a simple process for getting and keeping control of your paper.

If you’re like most, you have stacks of paper.  Get yourself out of the overwhelm conversation and start by dealing with one stack of paper at a time.  Go through each one piece of paper at a time and determine the following:


  • Is it relevant; do you need it?  Can you get the information again, perhaps from a book or online?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen if you got rid of it?
    • If it’s no longer relevant, get rid of it!
  • If it is relevant, what needs to happen to it?
    • Does it need to be filed?
    • Do you need to take action on it?
    • Does it need to go to someone else?
  • Sort  the paper  into separate bins; one designated for each of the three options
  • Once that stack is sorted, move to the next stack and continue until you’ve worked your way through each
  • Next, take action on the items in each bin
    • Do the filing
    • Take action on items that require you to do something
    • Delegate the items that need to go to someone else

Finally, to keep the tiger from becoming untamed again, set up a system to help you manage your paper and keep it under control and create new habits that support you in maintaining that system.

Whether you’re organizing your calendar or your space it has to be done from a personal perspective.  If you’re looking to organize your time, start by getting your hands on a tool that fits your time management personality.  If it doesn’t fit, it’s not the tool for you and it’s not going to support you in managing your time.  If you don’t know what type of tool fits your personality, take the steps to discover your time management personality, choose a tool that fits and set up a system for managing your time around that tool.  If you’re not sure where to start, click here.

Part of the system that you set up around managing your time should include habits that support you such as delegating tasks that aren’t necessary for your to do yourself, putting tasks that take longer than 15 minutes into your calendar with an assigned block of time, and planning.

When it comes to organizing your space, start with knowing what you want the outcome to be and why you’re getting organized.  Start with the space that bothers you the most or that’s causing you the greatest amount of grief.  If it’s a room that needs quite a bit of work, start in one corner or at another point in the room.  Continue to work with that space until it’s done.  As you go through the things present, toss what’s not relevant, the things that you can get again or no longer need.  Organize what’s left.  Before you do, think about how you want to store it.  What makes sense based upon your personality and how you work.  Again, organizing your space is personal.  Continue with the room until every area is done.  Choose the next space that you’re going to tackle and take it on.  Stick to it, space by space until your project is complete.


Getting to the point of having successfully organized your time or your space is only half of the effort.  It’s a great start, but if you want to stay that way, you have to have a few things in place.

Getting organized causes you to shift your thinking.  You might have heard me say before that being organized is a state of mind.  It calls for a shift in behavior; for you to develop new habits around how how you work; how you manage yourself.  When you organize your time, you have to have not only a system in place, but new habits that support you in maintaining that system and staying effective when it comes to managing tasks and your calendar.  This means that you have to plan on a regular basis, prioritize what you’re doing, be in the habit of delegating and saying “no”.  That system has to run like a well-oiled machine if you’re going to manage your time and your business effectively.

When it comes to your organized space, systems have to be in place too.  If you’re going to maintain an organized space, you need systems to keep it that way.  A filing system to contain your paper and rules for maintaining it, a way to manage paper and it flows to you, as well as a way to handle email and phone calls.  You also to develop new habits like clearing your desk and returning things to their designated home at the end of the day.  Building the muscle to develop those new habits to maintain what you establish will help you stay organized  for a long time to come.

Being organized is a state of mind, so before you can get organized, you’ve got to shift gears mentally.   To shift gears you have to make a conscious choice about how you want to work.

It’s really easy to be clear about what you don’t want or how you don’t want to work.  By nature it’s easier for us to determine what’s “wrong” or what we don’t like about something.  It’s quite another to be clear about what you do want, but necessary if you really want to change a situation.

Of all the things that we are taught when we’re young and as we grow into young adults, we are not taught to manage ourselves or how to organize our space or our time.  If we’re lucky enough to have some sort of clue as to what to do, then life tends to work better than if we don’t have that clue.  For most, being organized is something that we learn.  You might say “I don’t know how to get organized.” and may even believe that it’s just not possible.  I’m here to tell you that it’s not hard to do and that it is possible.  It’s all up to you  and your state of mind.

Your state of mind is where you start.  Where are you?  Are you thinking like a disorganized person?  Shift gears and start to think like an organized person.  What would your life look like if you were organized?  Get real clear and have a vivid picture of what that looks like.

Next ask yourself why you want to get organized.  Maybe you want to save some time; have time to spend with your family or friends; have time to focus on the money making tasks for your business.  Whatever your reason is, allow that reason to fuel you forward.  Let that be your focus and what drives you.

Once you know why or what your purpose for getting organized is, you can create your plan for organizing your space or your time .  What do you want to accomplish; what are your end results and what priority does each have.  Once you know the priorities, you know where to start and in what order to tackle things.  Your plan should also designate the tools that you’ll need to get organized.  When you create your plan, DON’T keep it in your head.  That’s the most dangerous place you can leave it.  When things stay in your head, they don’t become reality.  Get you plan onto paper.  It you prefer an electronic tool, get your plan into it and determine the steps that have to happen to accomplish each of your end results.

Getting clear about what you want, why you want it and creating a prioritized, written plan helps you shift the gears from the disorganized mind set to one of an organized mindset.  Being in action around your plan and your purpose has you operating inside of that space and developing the new habits that you need to get and stay organized, which will give you that extra time with family; to generate money through your business, or whatever it is that you’re looking for.


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