We all have way too much stuff and managing all of this stuff takes up way too much of our time. More often than not, looking for things negatively impacts our time and productivity. How often do you find yourself wandering around looking for your keys, your phone or your wallet?
There’s a simple solution. Take a full inventory of all your stuff and establish a set place for everything you own. As Benjamin Franklin wisely suggested, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Is there a drawer, desk or corner somewhere in your house or office that attracts a pile of random things? Most likely it’s because these things don’t have a home. Go through and categorize them and then allocate a location, box, folder for each category. For example, select a location for your keys and your phone, find a place to store your bills until they get paid and another for after they’ve been paid, and pick a specific place for your work bag or purse.
If this feels overwhelming, it’s probably because you have too much stuff. If you haven’t used it, worn it or thought about it in six months, then it’s time to get rid of it. I know it’s hard to part ways with your things but if you aren’t using it, wouldn’t it feel great if someone else could?
Most of us don’t have trash lying all over the place in our rooms and offices. If you think about it carefully, it’s because most rooms include a trash can and by habit most of us automatically put trash in the trash can for easy removal. Likewise, create bins, bags or spaces for things you need to return, things you want to try to sell or things you want to donate.
Once everything is in its place, you need a process to maintain it. Some of you may be able to get in the habit of automatically putting everything back in its place. Others may need to set aside time each day or week to put things away. Some will wait until someone is coming to the house, maybe even the cleaners.
TRY THIS OUT: No matter which process you prefer, just start by finding a home for your stuff and I promise you’ll find yourself wasting less time looking for your things.
After 25 years in the corporate world, working at Lotus Development, Ernst & Young, The Weather Channel and Play On! Sports, Monisha Longacre has founded her own company, Productivity101 and created priorigami: the art of productivity. Her mission is to provide simple, actionable and easy-to-use tools to help busy adults track, prioritize and complete tasks, to better manage their time and become more productive. Her goal is for priorigami to become the "FitBit" for productivity to help people lead more meaningful lives.