What Works, What Doesn’t: Desk Day
Posted May 27, 2008on:
I’ve implemented ideas from two organizing and productivity gurus to help me manage household bill-paying and other household paperwork. Setting up and consistently using an inbox, and the routine of my weekly desk day have made a big difference in my quest to be more organized.
At the suggestion of David Allen, I have one large inbox (you can see a photo of my beautiful, cheery inbox here), where I toss all incoming mail (after purging recycling, etc.) and any other paperwork that needs to be handled (like school and scouting announcements). Sometimes I put things like birthday presents that need to be wrapped in there, or an item I need to return to someone (I put a note on my to do list for the day I plan to return it). Right now the strap that tore off my laptop bag is in there, because I need to be in touch with the manufacturer.
At the suggestion of flylady, I chose one day a week to be my “desk day”, when I process what’s in the basket. I get up extra early, make a cup of coffee and spend a quiet hour or more, working through whatever I find in there.
Why does this work? Two reasons: First, I have a designated place for all incoming “stuff” which prevents it from cluttering up my desk or any other part of the house. Second, my routine of processing everything once a week – on the same day – gives me peace of mind; I don’t have to think about any of it until desk day comes around.
I still struggle with procrastinating on the tasks I don’t want to do (like filing, of course!) but I’ve come a long way since the days when my entire (large) desk was piled high with catalogs, junk mail, bills, magazines – you name it – and I didn’t know where to begin.
And just remember – you can start small. I first established the habit of sorting the mail and immediately tossing catalogs and other junk. Just that small change reduced the piles considerably – give it a try!
Oh – and by the way – what doesn’t work? Getting up super-early to process my inbox, only to find myself blogging instead!!