Making a New Year’s resolution? Chances are it’s to get better organized. So, as a financial organizer / daily money manager, how can I possibly ignore this topic? Here are my thoughts:
Why pass up an opportunity to hit the “refresh” button? Along with the first signs of spring, the first day of school, etc., a new year gives us hope and one more opportunity to do things differently.
“Change is hard!” I hear you say.
Of course it is. In fact, the only people who actually LIKE change are babies with wet diapers! For the rest of us, making changes that stick are difficult. Yet, it’s also true that the results—peace of mind, less clutter, and more—are worth the effort. The trick is to turn the big goal of “getting organized” into smaller, specific actions.
That said, may I suggest a few simple steps that will move you towards being more organized?
Clear ONE cluttered surface in your home or office that bugs you.
Keep it clear (or put an eye-pleasing “place holder” there like a paper weight or plant) by providing alternative more visually pleasing and appropriate homes for the things that accumulate there—new mail, reading material, out-going mail, etc.
Make a list of quick “fill in” organizing tasks.
Keep this list in an easy-to-find place. These should be things you can accomplish in the 10 minutes / 30 minutes / 1 hour you have between other activities. Some ideas might be: sort credit card receipts, toss out old catalogs, thin a bulging file. Don’t waste those “orphan” pieces of time wondering what to do. Instead, get to it!
Establish a “go to” box or bin.
Use it to keep a handful of clearly labeled essential files: “bills to pay,” “to do,” and “waiting / pending.” Sticky notes on the items in these files will let you know immediately where things stand: what’s been done, the next step, contact dates and numbers.
Choose only ONE of the above (or, even better, come up with one from your own list). Stick with it. Then look at the results and decide if you want to make it part of your routine in the months ahead. Hit the refresh button, and Happy New Year!
For other articles I have written on paperwork organizing, click here.