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Deal With Your Inner Slob

By Steve Carter-Novotni · September 12th, 2007 · The Road to Wellness
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If you can remember the old comic strip Shoe, you might have an idea of just how bad my desk looks. The main character of the strip, a cranky newspaper columnist named Cosmo, works at an old rolltop desk that overflows with papers, books and folders. My workspace is similarly camouflaged by what appears to be evidence of a burglary or a tornado.

The sad truth is that there was no natural disaster or crime committed. I'm just a slob.

According to local professional organizer Stephanie Denton, I'm not alone. Denton has been working with folks to clean up their acts for 14 years. She helps people develop organizational schemes for home and business environments and says that her business is really about helping people empower themselves and realize that organization is about making better choices.

"One thing that I emphasize is that organization is about how you spend your time, which is what it comes down to," Denton says.

You can choose your schedule, though many of the people she works with feel that their work and their disorganized lives are constrained by their responsibilities.

"Sometimes people are very reactive rather than proactive," Denton says.

People believe they have 50 or 100 tasks to do in a day, but really these are components of just one or two tasks they must complete.

"I spend a fair amount of time in discussion with a client about who they are and what's most important to them or their business," she says.

There are some basic steps toward becoming effective and efficient. The task of organizing is both mental and physical.

· Set goals. Determine what's important to you and prioritize.

· Get the tools to manage your schedule. A calendar works for some people, and others are more comfortable with a computer.

· Develop a contact list of phone numbers to keep on hand.

· Keep an inbox for new papers that need to be processed.

· Develop a filing system for long-term use.

More than anything else, it's important to stick to your system.

"I always tell people that maintaining the system is more important than designing it," Denton says.

Plan for a weekly clean up, and you'll be on the road to office recovery.



CONTACT STEPHEN CARTER-NOVOTNI: snovotni@citybeat.com

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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