The Renegade Organizer
Office Organized. Business Systemized. Profits Maximized.

Top Five Organization Mistakes

As the end of the year approaches, many people are preparing to make a resolution to be more organized.  Whether it’s your first or your fortieth such resolution, here are some things that can help it stick.

1.  No Plan – Way too many people’s “get organized plan” is to sit in the middle of their office floor with a box of file folders and a pen.  That trick never works.  In Renegade Organizing we follow three steps:  1. Think  2. Plan  3. Act.  You can’t skip the first two and hope to be successful.

2.  Confusing Clean and Organized – These are two separate things.  Being clean indicates a lack of clutter or dirt.  Being organized indicates the presence of systems and processes that allow you to find your stuff easily and use it effectively.  Those systems can be created to keep an office clutter free, but keeping the office clutter free will never substitute for having actual systems.

3.  One Size Fits All – The systems, processes, and procedures that you use should be tailored to you…you personality, work-style, and specific situation.  Avoid the temptation to try to use a book or system that acts as if one way to organize will work for everyone.

4.  The VOP Trap – Every disorganized person knows at least one VOP.  A VOP is a Very Organized Person, and more specifically, a Very Organized Person who can’t stop telling you how organized they are.  You can hear them say “Well, I’m VERY organized…if you would let me into your office, you would be VERY ORGANIZED as well”.  Don’t Do It!  If you are not naturally organized, do NOT try to copy the system of someone who is.  Not only will you end up being uncomfortable in an office that looks an awful lot like your mother’s/father’s/partner’s etc., it isn’t very likely to work and you’ll end up frustrated.

5.  No Time – Time is the fuel that runs a system.  Every single system that you create will require time.  There is no getting around it.  It would be like hiring an administrative assistant, telling them not to show up, then being surprised that no work got done.  Typically my clients spend 10 minutes in the morning, 10 at night and one hour per week on their admin work.  Your systems may require more or less time.

6. (I know I said five – what can I say, I’m a Renegade)  Being Unrealistic – During the process of creating systems, many people have an optimism bordering on delusion.  They forget who they are, how they work, and how little time they have, and create systems that are utterly unrealistic.  Here’s a hint:  If you tend to throw your paper on your kitchen counter, then once you have your paper intake system created, put it on the kitchen counter.  Now you’ll be much more likely to use it.  If that’s not its final destination then moving it gradually to where you want will increase the likelihood of success.  When it comes to organizing, you may be creating your systems today, but tomorrow you are the same person with the same schedule as you were and had yesterday.  Organize for the person you are and you’ll find that you are the organized person you want to be.

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One Response to “Top Five Organization Mistakes”

  1. The most powerful tip for me was the “no time” tip. I have a story that once I am organized and “straightened up” that somehow it will stay that way. Having a goal of just a few minutes each day devoted to working the system feels do-able and something I could stick to. Thanks, Ragen.


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