Five Ways NOT to Clean Up Your Office--Even if They've Always Told You Differently

"Words of Wisdom" you should ignore when organizing your office.

By Jan Jasper

"Handle each piece of paper only once."
Someone just handed you some information about a low-priority matter. If you deal with it right now to avoid handling the paper again later, you'll be late to today's meeting with your biggest client. I don't think so!

"Filing systems should always be set up alphabetically."
This depends. Some files should be set up by topic. Alphabetic files are a big reason that people often can't find papers after they've filed them.

"Loose-leaf binders are a good way to keep papers, newsletters, etc. together."
If you don't even have time to drop it into a file folder, where will you find the time to hole-punch it?

"A tidy desk will help you be effective."
Maybe. Some very ineffective people have spotless desks.

"If I had a bigger office it would solve the problem."
More likely, it would just give you more places to hide the work you're procrastinating about doing!

Jan Jasper has been training busy people to work smarter, not harder since 1988. She helps clients streamline their systems and procedures, form optimum work habits, use technology efficiently, and manage information overload. Her specialty is helping people who've already worked with professional organizers and coaches and are still not able to get it all done. Jan is the author of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, & Technology (St. Martin's Press). Jan is the office efficiency spokesperson and radio voice for IKON, one of the world's leading providers of products and services that help businesses communicate. Prior to that, she was the office organization expert on staples.com. Jan has appeared on radio and TV all over North America and has been quoted in numerous publications.


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