Each week, time-management guru Laura Stack will share insider tips to help you make the most of your time.

laura-stack4Today’s Tip from Laura

Taming the Messy Monster: Bring Order to Your World, by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP

Order relates to your level of organization: your ability to sort, filter, and process information effectively. Here are a few ideas to help you control the paper, email, and reading material that flow into your office.

  1. Realize that some people aren’t born more organized than others. Understand that organization is a skill that can be learned, just like riding a bike. Getting organized is a process of trial, error and persistence, but you can master it if you’re serious about it.
  1. Keep a clutter-free work surface. You don’t have to be creative and disorganized. No matter what you’ve seen on coffee cups, a clean desk is NOT a sign of an empty mind.
  1. Maintain orderly and organized files, so you can find essential information when you need it.
  1. Avoid using sticky notes or scraps of paper to record messages or tasks. Temporary notes should be for temporary things, like writing down a number you’ll use only once. Consolidate your system using phone logs and organizers.
  1. Have a systematic plan to stay organized. Staying organized requires ongoing practice and planning. The most effective way to control clutter is to say no — to new tasks, belongings, magazine subscriptions.

Remember, perception is reality these days. Leave your office messy all the time, and your career may stall. And you still won’t be able to find what you’re looking for!

© 2009 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations. Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces. She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004). Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timer and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M. To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401. Visit www.TheProductivityPro.com to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.

To learn more about how organization and time management can help you achieve success visit the Day-Timer Community at http://www.daytimer.com/community.