We’ve all heard the saying, “a clear space, a clear mind”.Well, they had me at "a clear space, a clear mind." Because I'm a firm believer in that simple principle. I have severe troubles concentrating and producing amid clutter and distraction.
But what does it actually mean?
Well, it’s quite simple – the more cluttered the space around you is, the more you have to think (or worry) about.
This can apply to your personal or your working life.
The article, by Louise Clarke, went on to list four helpful tips for office organization. But it didn't mention my single most effective office organization tool: a "bring-up" file.
What is that, you say?
I'm glad you asked. A "bring-up" file--also called a "tickler file" by some time management folks--is a simple but helpful collection of forty-three file folders.
When a bill comes in the mail, I open it, note the due date, and then put it in the "bring-up" for seven days before it's due. That way I never miss a payment.
If there is something--like a birthday, perhaps, or an estimated tax payment--I want to remember three months from now, I may record in my desktop calendar...but I will also put a note, card, or payment voucher in that month's folder.
If I have a restaurant coupon to use on my next "date night" with my wife, I'll simply put the coupon in that date's "bring-up" folder.
Articles to be read, maps and reservation forms for upcoming trips, reminders of goals I want to meet, seasonal reminders (like when to order mulch or change furnace filters), etc. all go in the "bring-up."
And, perhaps most importantly, at the end of a workday, I simply take all the papers and forms from my desk and put them in the next workday's folder.
I've often recommended this system to friends--even helped some set it up, though it's so very simple, just forty-three labeled folders! And I've mentioned it often at speaking engagements, to writers and pastors. And I'm frequently surprised at how many people have never heard of or used such a simple tool. But I have, for nearly forty years now, and even as I've added technological helps like alerts and "reminders" on my digital calendar and iPhone, I continue to rely heavily on my "bring-up" system to maintain "a clear space" and "a clear mind."
What about you? What's your most effective office organization tool?