Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.
-William James


"To arrange by systemic planning and united effort.  To form into a coherent unity or functioning whole."    Webster, 1995

On a scale from 1 to 5, please rate how each question describes you.

   1                    2                    3                    4                    5
Not at all                                                                       Hey, this is me

_____ 1. When I am away, co-workers can locate needed information in my office or on my desk.
_____ 2.  I can easily reach the items I need to do my job:  computer, working files, telephone, calculator, planner/calendar.
_____ 3.  In one place I have systemically recorded everything I have to do or remember.
_____ 4.  I have identified a place for everything, and everything is in it's place.
_____ 5.  when working on a task/job, I keep my desk clear of all other materials and clutter.

Sound impossible?  Did you score low numbers on the quiz above?  If so, you probably already know that you tend to be less than organized. Check out a few of the references noted below to help you in organizing your thoughts and your life!


As noted in the Wall Street Journal, the average U.S. executive wastes six weeks per year searching for missing information in messy desks or files.
A loaded desk is not the sign of a very busy, very important person; it is the sign of disorganization.
It is critically important to listen to your instincts.  What works beautifully for one person may tire and frustrate someone else.

To keep information located in one place make a to-do list, or maintain a system to identify prioritized work and things to remember.
Keep clutter at a minimum by utilizing a variety of storage items.
Store as much information/data as possible on your computer hard drive or disks to limit paper clutter.
Keep all of the "tools" needed to complete a job within easy reach.
Open your mail near a wastebasket or recycling bin.
Concentrate on one item at a time.


For additional information about balancing work/life, check out the OSU Leadership Center website.

Some resources we recommend are:

Organizing from the Inside Out
Julie Morgenstern.  Henry Holt & Co., 1998.

Causes of Clutter, p. 17
Psychological Obstacles to Beating Clutter, p. 25
Why You Want to Get Organized List, p. 45
Kindergarten Model of Organization, p. 50
Is Getting Organized Worth Your Time?, p. 57
What's Causing You Problems?, p. 75
Ways to Sort Paper, p. 80
Cubicle Workstations, p. 102
Mobile Offices/Travel, p. 110
Tips for Traveling Light, p. 113
Using Travel Time Productively, p. 117
Auto Travel, p. 119
Organizing Computer Space, p. 230
Organizing Paper Mail and Faxes, p. 237
Dealing with Interruptions, pp. 44-48

The Procrastinator’s Handbook
    Rita Emmett.  Walker & Co., 2000

12 Tips for Working More Effectively at Your Desk, p. 116
Importance of Lists, p. 118
Best Time of Day to Get Things Done Quiz, p. 126
Organizing Quotes, p. 132
12 Steps to Less Chaos at Home, p. 161
Decluttering Tips, p. 167
Decluttering Quotes, p. 174
Commuting Hints, pp. 204-205

The Telephone and Time Management:  Making It a Tool and Not a Tyrant
Drew Scott, Ph.D.   Crisp Publications Inc., 1988

Organized Desk quiz, p. 52

The Time Trap
   Alec Mackenzie.  AMACOM, 1990.

Disorganization Information and Quiz, pp. 110-117
Meeting Information and Quiz, pp. 136-142
Paperwork Information and Quiz, pp. 143-149
Travel Information and Quiz, pp. 183-188

 If you would like to borrow these or other resources from the OSU Leadership Center, please click on the logo   

Home   Creating Balance  Making Decisions   Dealing with Interruptions   Setting Priorities   Managing Procrastination   

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