Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
52 WEEKS TO FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION - #33: Messy Desk?
Many years ago, a very successful corporate vice-president asked me if his desk was the messiest desk I had ever seen. As a professional organizer, I'm asked that question frequently. Usually I smile and reassuringly tell the person that their desk (home, office, or whatever) is nowhere near the messiest I have ever seen.
But that day I paused and said, "You know, I think you do win the prize for the messiest desk I have ever seen."
Upon further exploration, I realized that I was wrong. What looked like a big mess to me – and to the other people in his office, which was the reason I was there – was really a system of organization that worked quite well for him. He was organized enough to serve his customers well, and to make a lot of money for his company and for himself. It just wasn't very pretty.
Imagine that you have hired someone to do your job for a year so you can vacation on the international space station. You will need to be able to clearly explain every process to your replacement, because you won't be able to communicate with her when you're away. Wow! That's harder than you thought it would be! You do so many things without thinking about them.
And that's the secret to having an organized desk: You have to
1. Define exactly what you do there,
2. Develop standardized processes for doing those things and
3. Do those things in a systematic way
My successful vice-president did all of those things. Could he have done them in a more aesthetically-pleasing way? Probably so. I gave him some suggestions, but he rejected them. His system wasn't broken, so he didn't want to fix it. The professional organizer learned something that day.
Don't confuse beauty and function. Putting your papers in expensive, matching containers gets you nowhere (or gets you fired) if you don't have a system for retrieving and acting on them. Always figure out function and flow first. Then you can buy the pretty containers.
posted on: 9/27/2009 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
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by Katherine Trezise
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Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.