Spotlight on… Becky’s Studio

by Tina ~ March 29th, 2012.

I’m working with an artist, Becky, who needed to get her papers in order. She is what I call a “piler” not a “filer” (most people are). This means that she likes to have things out in plain view in order to remember to deal with them. Becky needs everything visible so that it’s really clear, as soon as she comes into her office with a piece of paper, where it belongs. She has a lot of different interests and many things on the go at the same time, so her organizational system needs to be easy and intuitive.Magazine Holders

What we needed to do was take Becky’s horizontal piles and turn them vertical. To achieve this, we set up magazine holders on shelves in her office. Each magazine holder was designated for one of the following categories: To Pay, To File, To Read (time-sensitive as well as general interest), To Submit (e.g. reimbursement for health expenses),  Current Travel (anything related to the next trip she would be taking), and To Do (includes To Call, To Email, To Mail, etc.).

Whether you have a broad To Do file or a magazine holder, even if you’ve broken it down into categories, it’s often very helpful to also have a notebook that holds a running list of the things you need to do. Keep track of “To Do” items as they come in, and write them chronologically in your notebook. The first word you write should always be the action itself (e.g. Call, Email, Research) followed by the details (… Mom to say happy birthday,  … Julie for cake recipe, … flights to Mexico). That way you can simply glance at your list, run your finger down the margin, and see that you have X number of calls, or emails, or whatever else. You can quickly estimate the time needed to do various groups of tasks, and decide when best to fit them into your life.

Come back next week for more news about my organizing work with Becky. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you!

How do you stay on top of your To Do’s?

Categories: office organization.
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