1-2-3 Sort

Article excerpted from the new book, "How to Do Space Age Work with a Stone Age Brain" by Eve Abbott

1 - 2 - 3-SORT!

Every time you start to clean up your office so you can work better instead of harder-that big backlog of information is just too overwhelming. Sorting can actually put you into a better working space in very short time!

The good news is you don't have to do it all at once. Use the first cut to trash, recycle, shred, and archive leaving just the items requiring Action on your part.

Now do the Action sort beginning with your desktop, desk drawers, then, wall mount shelves or cupboards at your desk. You'll have a clean Action zone to put these items back in better working order. Then, it's 1 - 2 - 3-SORT!

Sort and only sort-no reading a newsletter or making one quick call. Also, work for two hours or less, take a break, then, finish it off with another two hours at the most. Otherwise, our stone age brains overload and start putting things in the wrong place. There are three essential Action domains: 1) to Do 2) to Read 3) to File.

TO DO: In the to-Do domain there are some basic categories: Call, Pay, Sign, Schedule, Correspond, Read, Review, Write, Research, etc. Everyone has unique information categories in their work and lives, but, these will get you going and you can add Actions as your piles take on definition and turn into Action files.

When a piece of info is sticking to your fingers, ask yourself: Am I past the due date? Trash or if you need other info from it, file it. Will anyone care if I do or don't do this? If not, why spend time on it? Trash

Do I really need to do this? If no-trash. If yes, into an Action file and calendar it.

TO READ: Set up magazine files to sort your reading material as it arrives. Label these by topic, project or subscription. Do not read anything yet! This the time to decide which articles are really worth your time and energy to read.

First, scan the table of contents for relevant articles and ask these questions: Is this out of date? (If older than 3 months it has to be a classic to be timely) Is this significant in my current work/life? Do I have time to read it? Or, Do I have more important stuff to read that I can't get to?

Once you triage your incoming newsletters, and magazines to decide which are the keepers; cut out and staple only those articles, and discard the rest. This will shrink your reading pile from three feet to three inches!

Keep the trimmed articles in a file you can take with you to read in bits of in-between time. If you decide to keep for further reference, sort them into your magazine files.

TO FILE: Your first choice is to separate out your personal from your business filing. Then, it's 1 - 2 - 3-SORT in filing as well. 1) File in this year's current filing system 2) File into archive file boxes (financial/legal audit trail) 3) Scan into electronic document storage (put it all on CD!)

If you don't have a filing system, check out the cost-effective Home and Small Business File Kits that I use in my own business, which makes it easy for me to guarantee your satisfaction. (www.organize.com)

Current business filing domains:
People: clients, staff, teams, vendors
Things: projects, programs, products, property
Administration: the business of doing business.

Current personal filing domains:


Place only current years records into your office filing system. Archive filing can be boxed and kept out of your office in a secure dry storage place-you just need to maintain it.

Now, you can manage your information more successfully at work and at home. Just do it, 1 - 2 - 3-SORT!

You'll find more free time-saving tips at http://www.organize.com

In The News:

How to Organize Your Desk  The New York Times
Students organize COVID-19 pop-up testing sites  The Ohio State University News

Lightening The Load

When I tell people what a FREEING experience moving is,... Read More

Identifying the Rocks: Organizing Your Priorities

In one of my favorite books, First Things First, written... Read More

10 Tips for a More Organized Morning

1. Teach your children to use an alarm clock or... Read More

Your Organizing DNA

Do you like storing your papers on top of your... Read More

To Make a Change -- Take a Chance

Life is really all about CHANGE. In order to make... Read More

35 Santity Savers - Get More Productive

Use these 35 sanity savers this year to help you... Read More

A Simple Effective Tool To Get And Stay Organized

Often we are in overwhelm because we are holding too... Read More

Words That Inspire - SIMPLIFY

What do you gain if you SIMPLIFY?Dictionary* says:to reduce to... Read More

Basic Organizing Principles

So you've decided to get organized, but you just don't... Read More

Creating The Perfect Closet

Your closet is often the first thing you see in... Read More

Files vs Piles

I recently read an article that had some interesting but... Read More

Cleaning Out Your Closet

Helping people clean out their closet is something I love... Read More

Organization Tips - How to Organise Your Computer Files

Everytime Mary had to find a file on her computer,... Read More

Tired of Endless Chores and To-Dos? Stop Running Around in Circles and Enjoy Life Again

Do you feel like you are running around in circles,... Read More

10 Easy Maintenance Tips vs Piling on the Chaos

Whether you are in your own business or an employee... Read More

Improve Your Workplace to Make Your Life Better

What does "quality of life" mean to you? If you... Read More

Breathing Life Into Dead Spaces

"I don't have enough room!" -- this is a common... Read More

What Clutter Clearing Can Do For You

You can get a pretty good idea of the benefits... Read More

10 Easy Tips for Digging Out Your Desk Today

Has your polished mahogany (or modular plastic) desk been buried... Read More

Escaping The Clutter Trap? - 5 Steps For Increasing Productivity And Decreasing Stress

? Do you feel overwhelmed by all the "stuff" in... Read More

Letting Go of Clutter In Your Office

Some people would say I'm the last person in the... Read More

Organized Living-Secrets About Your Lifes Hidden Power Revealed

An organized living lifestyle can cause you to weed out... Read More

Relieve Vacation Stress By Planning Ahead

Cindy looks at the calendar and sighs. Ah, the end... Read More

Have an Ugly Day

"Do something every day that you don't want to-do; this... Read More

Three Effortless Ways to Win the Paperwork Battle

Buried under mountains of paperwork from your company? Do the... Read More