Plan for Productivity
After you've had an opportunity to bring some order to your home office, think about ways to organize your work habits. Try to establish work patterns for yourself. For example, after you create your to-do list each morning, allocate time to open your mail, deal with incoming e-mail, and do whatever other tasks are an important part of your routine. As you plan your day, schedule some flexible time to manage unexpected distractions and problems.
The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) is a not-for-profit professional association whose members include organizational consultants, speakers, trainers, authors, and manufacturers of organizing products. NAPO's mission is to encourage the development of professional organizers and promote the recognition and advancement of the professional-organizing industry.
Implementing an organizational system can help you deal with everything from your papers to your professional responsibilities and give you parameters on what to keep, what to toss, and what to take action on.
NAPO offers these suggestions for increased productivity and organization on their Web site at
Break large projects down into small, sequential steps, and then schedule these steps into your day using your personal planner, scheduler, or PDA.
Keep only the supplies you need daily on your desktop.
Be clear about the response you need when sending a message (voice mail, e-mail, or a letter) to a colleague. They can then provide a full response, even if they don't reach you directly.
Keep a file index (a master list of file names). Check the index before creating a new file to avoid making duplicates, and use it when deciding where to file a piece of paper.
After you've had an opportunity to tackle the clutter and to bring the tools you need into your office, you might find that you actually have to work less, and yet your productivity naturally increases. When you don't have to chase down paperwork or dig for contact information, small tasks can be done swiftly and you'll have more energy and time to devote to the more essential and lucrative tasks.