Tips for running a tight ship
Does your office look like a natural disaster? Is it clut- tered with paper, maga- zines, articles and unfiled folders? Would you like two extra hours a day to
spend any way you want? Well, here’s
help—seven steps to a well-organized
workspace. It’s called the Simple Organization System™ (S.O.S.), and it will
make your life and career run more effectively with less stress. Here goes:
Make a list of five benefits
for becoming organized.
Why? Two reasons. One, we typically
don’t do anything unless there’s a payoff.
Second, if you don’t know what you’d do
with the extra hours, they’ll be wasted.
Schedule the date and time
for organizing your office.
It can take up to eight hours to organize just your desk, in-box and one file
cabinet. If you have several file cabinets, decide what you can accomplish
in the initial session. Once you begin,
it’s important to keep on going until
you complete what you set out to do
for that day. If your files are on a computer, you use the same method.
Have your supplies ready.
Office supplies include the basic
army green hanging folders and colored
hanging folders with interior folders
empty your desk—totally.
You are going to completely
“move out” and back in again, as if you
had bought a new desk.
Prepare your new desk
by creating a place for
• Mechanical drawer—for pens,
pencils, scissors, paper clips, glue
• Paper drawer—for Post-its, note-cards, envelopes, business cards and
• Personal drawer—for mints, gum,
aspirin, personal stuff.
• 1-31 Daily action drawer—You
need 31 red hanging folders with
an interior folder for each hanging
folder to keep your daily paper
• Subject drawer—You will organize
your files by subject. Each subject
will have a separate hanging and
interior file color. Here are some examples:
Red: 1-31 daily action items
and hot projects
Burgundy: Your company
Pink: Personal and memories
Blue: Your topics
Army Green: General information
• Hot project drawer—for urgent
items or “hot projects” you are
Reminder: If your files are on the com-
puter, you still organize everything the
same way. When I moved from file cab-
inets to computer filing, I got rid of five
file cabinets. Today, I have one file cabi-
net for 1-31 action item files and hot
project files. The second drawer has
company files and memory files. Sub-
ject files are in the Sue Pistone & Asso-
ciates folder on the computer.
Create the 1-31 Daily action
Drawer. Go through your piles
of paper, one piece at a time with the
FADE™ method, and decide how you
will handle it. You can:
• File it.
• Act on it.
• Delegate it.
• Eliminate it.
each day, put everything back
in its place, or hire someone
to do this. Reorganize your office
every three months during the first year
and every six months to stay organized.
Imagine for a moment all the spare
time you could have next year by
adopting this method for your office.
Many of my NSA speaker colleagues
have implemented S.O.S. and gained at
least two hours a day to spend any way
they wish. You can, too!
Sue Pistone is an expert in
time management and
organization. She works with
individuals and organiza-
tions to gain the time to ful-
fill their goals. A member of NSA since
1985, she served as a director and officer.
Her philosophy is “Life is time . . . Make it
count!”™ Contact Pistone at
How to gain Two Hours a Day