Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Rich and the Messy

Today, after a week, I finally opened my mail to find a letter from retired engineer Donald Ironside, of Havertown. He sent along a 1990ish photo, possibly from Forbes magazine, of Fayez Sarofim, an extremely successful businessman, standing amongst the piles in his office. The office itself is gorgeous, paintings, paneling, leather. But the piles are everywhere and if the man gets too aggressive with his rolling chair, he'll run right over them.

Don writes, "Maybe the enclosed photocopy of zillionaire Fayez Sarofim's office will help. It certainly gave me heart." Don's message to me was that some people need their piles and "you should operate to suit your needs." Again, proof to me that the Inquirer's readers are among the most generous and encouraging of any newspaper anywhere, I am sure.

That being said, here are two more tips that I gleaned from my month-long journey into the world of the organized. See Monday's blog for tips one and two.

Tip Three: Collect at least some of what you want to sort into one box so that your desk is clear. If you have more stuff than will fit, leave the surplus where it is. Instead, write yourself a note and put it in the bottom of the box. The note might say, “clean out third file drawer.” When your sorting bring you at last to the note, your box will be empty. Now you can fill it with the contents of the file drawer. Repeat as needed.

Tip Four: Switch back and forth between two tasks - creating new systems that reflect your work style, and dealing with items in your collection box. The reason to alternate is that the items in the box will help to suggest the system, and the system will help you decide what to do with the items in the box.

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