I am going to share my ultimate organizational advice in this post. It’s tried and true information that has allowed me to accomplish dozens of tasks in one day, keep my office clutter-free, and my home totally spotless. Well, just kidding about the last one. I have two tornadic toddlers at home. My home is never spotless. Simple fact of life. Toddlers ruin all organizational strategy. Anyway…I digress. Back to my otherwise superb method and best recommendation for getting organized.
The advice is so simple and straightforward it is almost ridiculous. (No, it’s not rid your space of toddlers!) My strategy is: Touch it once. Whatever “it” is, it does not need to be moved five times before you decide what to do with it. The Touch it Once principle means exactly what is says. When a task is immediately in front of you, do it. Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t start something else. Don’t move it to the never ending “to-do” pile. Putting tasks off does not make them go away. To the contrary, putting tasks off generates backlog. Backlog seriously impedes the ability to move forward.
Try these three easy steps to stay on top of your organizational game:
- Handle the task/item.
- Decide what to do with it.
- Act on the decision.
Responding in any other manner will require that you address the task/item again. Addressing things repeatedly, even if it is just a quick “review” to remind yourself what the task was about in the first place, takes time. Time is valuable. Time is money. Touching tasks once is best practice for business, home, and life.
There are infinite ways to put this practical organizational advice to use, but I will offer up one concrete example. Let’s say you recently acquired a new employee. They’ve filled out the usual paperwork (I-9, W-4, Direct Deposit Form, etc…) Now it is sitting on your desk. Waiting. Wanting a file. Using the three easy steps, first you will sit down at your desk and grab the paperwork. Next, you will decide that the direct deposit information should go to payroll, and the rest needs a file. Finally you will act. Route the information to payroll, grab a file folder from your supply cabinet, create the tab, and file the paperwork. Done. Move on to the next task. Repeat. Like I said, the advice is so simple and straightforward it is almost ridiculous. I challenge you to try it. If it is simply not going to happen, please contact Avant Synergy. We love doing this kind of stuff. It makes us happy.