1. Go through your mail and deal with it as it comes.
Do the following tasks every time you get a piece of mail
- Deal with it right away (e.g. paying a bill online)
- File it immediately (either in “To Do”/”Waiting for more Info”, etc)
- Toss it
2. Continually rid yourself of your sticky notes and scraps of paper.
I actually don’t mind sticky notes or scraps of paper, as long as at the end of the day, the information on them are transferred into my Palm or into a notebook. Sometimes you just don’t have it handy.
A good tip would be to get a notebook and use it to record EVERYTHING you want to remember.
Such as phone numbers of clients you call all the time, a list of the payment terms for each customer that you always keep looking up. I usually don’t advocate paper AT ALL to be used, but sometimes a quick and handy guide of things you are ALWAYS looking up will be useful on a piece of paper and kept in a desk.
4. Schedule filing time at least once per week.
I do this every Friday. I file away all the loose things, pack up the area, and make a note of what needs to be done for Monday.
5. Add dated or calendar items to your system as soon as they arrive.
The minute I get a calendar item, I put it in my PDA, or I write it on a sticky note, throw it in my pocket and put it in my PDA when I get a chance to.
Or if you do, stack them up on a pile in a corner and make sure it doesn’t spill over to another section.
I’d also make sure to finish that project or if you aren’t done, put it away properly with a short note of where you left off before starting another project.
7. Keep your desk clean.
The less knickknacks, paper and accessories, the better. Clear desk, clear mind.
8. Keep folder of material you need to read or review.
Don’t forget to schedule time to clear out that reading material so that it doesn’t pile up into a huge mess.
9. Keep a folder of material that you’re waiting for feedback/info on
And review them at the end of the day to see if you can clean them up even more.
10. Do a quick clean of your desk at the end of the week.
Toss that half-filled juice box, dust off your desk, do a quick wipe down of the writing area, stack up your papers nicely, and clear your desk for a fresh start on Monday.