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Below are the articles in the Organizing category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.


Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

Habitual lateness. Extreme disorganization. Not following up sales leads. This quiz helps to identify how we might be sabotaging our own efforts.

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Self-sabotage takes on a variety of guises and affects people of all ages, professions and economic levels. But it always leads to our not living the life we want for ourselves. Take this Self-Quiz to see whether you might be working against yourself in some areas.

1. It takes me at least a half hour to locate a document I need to send to someone.

2. I can be indecisive and fearful; as a result, chances often pass me by.

3. I tend to start projects with great gusto, but have great difficulty finishing them.

4. My financial situation is chronically chaotic.

Creating Systems for Success

Most of us run our lives with a handful of systems, but don’t take advantage of how systematization could improve productivity, gain customers, and more.

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Between our cellphones, our planners and our e-mail inboxes, we have organized ourselves and our time. And if you ever doubt the importance of these systems, recall your panic the last time you lost your planner.

Yet as important as these systems are, most of us don’t take advantage of what systems can do to improve our businesses. Systems are simply ways of automating or structuring processes so that they can occur systematically without so much thought or attention—and by more than just one person, so that the business can continue to run if the owner takes a vacation.

Figuring Out What to Systematize

For most of us, there are dozens of similar repetitive tasks, large and small, in our businesses or jobs that could be systematized. To identify where you can apply systems, step back from your enterprise and try to look at it objectively. Ask yourself questions such as below:

Where are your frustrations? This is an important test for two reasons. First, you are more likely to be frustrated if you are redoing tasks that bring no particular satisfaction. Second, you are going to be frustrated if you have to relearn a task or “recreate the wheel” every time a specific need comes up.

Organize Yourself for Success

Demonstrates the connection between organization and success and also offers a detailed strategy for implementing—and maintaining—an effective organizational system, including the laser-focused approach that successful executives employ to dispense with clutter.

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For most people, the three biggest obstacles to an organized office and work life are: clutter (paper and email), planning and follow-through, the latter two being more an issue of time management. And while a disorganized office can be much like a disorganized schedule—overly packed, haphazard, limited in space or hours—it makes sense to organize space and paper first. Below are some tips for tackling office clutter.

If you’re starting from scratch—organizing the entire office and creating a new system—Morgenstern advises to first analyze the situation, taking an overall look at space, furnishings, equipment, supplies and types of paperwork. Ask yourself five questions:

1. What’s working? It’s helpful to know what’s not “broken” so that you don’t spend time fixing it. Also, a little “good news” is nice to hear.

2. What’s not working? Take a big picture approach here. It takes forever to get things done, because I can’t easily find what I need, so I work a lot of overtime.

The Ultimate Act of Self-Care: Clearing Clutter

How can clearing clutter lead to a better life? Clearing away physical clutter often has the unexpected effect of clearing away emotional clutter, too, that may be holding us back from our heart’s desire.

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Clearing away physical clutter often has the unexpected effect of clearing away emotional clutter, too, that may be holding us back from our heart’s desire.

In fact, organizing your life is one of the kindest acts of self-care there is.

Think about it: When things are organized, we spend less time looking for things, set a good example for our children, reduce overwhelm, do more with less time, make better use of our talents and skills, increase our self-confidence, feel more in control and make more/spend less money.

There is no shortage of ideas and books on how to organize. Julie Morgenstern, in her book Organizing from the Inside Out, takes the “how to” a step further and suggests that to arrive at any kind of a sustaining system, we need to understand and work with or around our psychological obstacles to a clutter-free environment. Do you see yourself in any of these obstacles?

Unclear goals and priorities. Organizing is about defining what’s important and setting up a system to reflect that.

“Tolerations” Take a Toll

What do a boss who’s always yelling at you, your mate’s over-spending habits, a cluttered house or office, tight shoulders and a ho-hum (or bad) relationship have in common? They’re all tolerations, those little or big things we put up with—often without realizing it—that sap our energy and drain our life force.

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At the root of our tolerations are a variety of limiting beliefs that immobilize us. For example: “That’s just the way it is.” “I’m not worth it.” “Don’t rock the boat—play it safe.” “Don’t complain or be too demanding.” “I don’t have enough time/money/support.”

If we are committed to feeling better about ourselves, to making changes that will bring us greater peace of mind and happiness, it will greatly help to evaluate and eliminate the tolerations standing in our way. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

Appraise. Make an honest appraisal of what you are tolerating in each of the areas of your life: home environment, health, work, money, relationships and so on. Write down everything that annoys you or that you feel you are putting up with. You will likely come up with more than 100 of these tolerations!

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Work Environment

Ten tips for enhancing one’s surroundings at work.

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Our surroundings play an important role in how we feel and, consequently, how we perform. Here are 10 ways to make your work environment support your best work.

1. De-clutter. Do whatever it takes to bring order to your workspace. Clutter is the #1 enemy of productivity.

2. Add flowers/plants. Living things help clean the air and clear the brain. Keep them within eyesight…and keep them fresh!

3. Focus on relationships. Unresolved conflict with workmates can poison even the best workspace.

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