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Blog: Office Productivity
What to Keep, What to Throw Away: Tips on Decision Making as You Organize

I was working with a client in her home office. We were surveying what we had already accomplished and deciding what to do next when I picked up an object from the top shelf of her bookcase. I said, "What are you going to do with this?" She looked at me and smiled, knowing that her answer was important to our organizing tasks. She said, "I really like the colors, they are so bright and cheery." "But do you use it?" I asked. I knew the answer before she did. That conversation prompted me to show her a guide for making decisions as you are organizing.
Clutter is postponed decision making (Barbara Hemphill, The Paper Tiger Institute). I see this all of the time with my clients. They don't know what to do with papers, objects, old supplies, etc. One of the many hats I wear as an organizer is that of organizing coach. I never tell clients that they have to get rid of or keep anything. That decision is up to them. My role is to ask questions that will make decisions easier for them to make as we organize.
Difficulty with this process slows down the organizing. Here are four tips to guide you in the decision making process.
  • If you love it and use it, KEEP IT.
  • If you don't love it and don't use it, TRASH IT.
  • If you don't love it, but use it, DISCUSS IT WITH AN ORGANIZER OR SOMEONE ELSE.
  • If you don't use it, but love it, DISCUSS IT WITH AN ORGANIZER OR SOMEONE ELSE.
The first two tips are easy to apply. The second two require more thought and discussion. I also recommend that if you are going to get rid of something that still has value, consider donating it instead of trashing it. "Someone else's junk is another's treasure." If you can't make a quick decision, put it in a pile marked; DECIDE LATER, so that you don't slow down the organizing process. Then when you are finished the sorting process, work with the Decide Later pile. These tips will help you work through the organizing process more quickly.

posted on: 8/9/2009 1:30:00 PM by Barbara Boone
category: Business

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Office Productivity

by Barbara Boone

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About Barbara:

Barbara Boone is the owner of Productivity Solutions located in Cockeysville, MD. She provides office organizing for small businesses and helps them to create and implement a productive environment so that they can be successful. Her focus is paper management and file set up to help clients reduce stress and increase productivity. She has been organizing in the fields of education and business for over 36 years. Barbara is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and Director of Professional Development for the Baltimore chapter of the National Association.

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