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  • Writer's pictureBrantwijn Serrah

Organizing Chaos

I don’t know about you, but my place is a disaster.

I think we can all agree, the last year has done a lot to wreak havoc on our lives, our work, even our sense of time. Working from home has changed everything for me, in both good and bad ways, but one thing I’m guilty of is letting my usual organization fall apart.

Well, it’s time for spring cleaning (hey, better late than never!), so now’s a great time to get organization back on track!

Here are my Top 6 tips for organizing office life, whether it’s at home, in the cubicle jungle, or at my personal writing desk:

1. A place for everything... you know the rest. Yeah, it might be a tired old saying, but it’s incredibly true and useful. We all joke about how we can put something in a special safe place and forget all about where we stashed it, but if you’re in a working space you frequent day after day, you should know where things are. Knowing where they belong is a great start. I keep my reference books in my desk cabinet, my rune stones and oracle cards in my cubbies with my good luck charms, and my cat in my lap.

2. If you’re dealing with electronics, wrangle your cords. You can find tags for your cords at any office supply store. Or, alternatively, you can use the tabs they use to seal loaves of bread at the supermarket. This makes finding a specific cord quick and easy when you need it. Keep your cords neat, bind them together with a rubber band or zip cord, and make sure they’re not all hanging willy-nilly in your way. That’s a recipe for disaster and ruined cords! And we all hate replacing cords!

The Writing Prompts App

3. There’s an app for that! Believe me, there is. For me, using word count apps and story prompt apps is a great way to stay on track with writing. Checklist apps (or the to-do list function on Outlook) help me make sure I’m not forgetting any important tasks. My calendar app is fantastic for reminding me when bills need to be paid or writing website subscriptions are about to renew, planning out my release schedules and advertising, and reminding myself about time-sensitive tasks that are coming up. If an appointment gets set, I add it to the calendar pronto. There’s a good chance I already added “Add your appointments to the Calendar!” to the calendar, too!

4. There’s also a notebook for that. Or a post-it note, or an index card, or a whiteboard. Sometimes you’re moving too quickly or under too much pressure to open your phone and jot everything down in an app, so good old pen-and-paper are an absolute necessity for me! And, going back to tip #1, those notebooks and post-its have their place in a drawer so I can grab them pronto!

5. Invest in a program that blocks you from your guilty pleasure websites. Turn off Facebook. Shut up Twitter. Close the curtain on Instagram. Find a program like Cold Turkey to block you from your favorite websites (those that aren’t pertinent to your work, at least) and set a duration of time to keep yourself focused on the job.

Cold Turkey - A Website Blocker

6. Clean your workspace! This goes along with the first tip, too. You can’t keep track of things if your desk is covered in clutter. Have your feel-good tchotchkes is you like, but keep the space reasonably tidy and don’t keep around stuff you don’t need. Exceptions can be made for your furby muses, of course.

Now, I’m going to try (really, I am, I promise!) to get my home workspace under control again. I’m going to write down my goals and calendar my progress check-ins and all that good stuff I know I’ll forget if I don’t write it down. I’ll set alarms and reminders and everything will be golden.

Well, maybe not everything. No matter how organized we are, chaos still sneaks in to play. Of course, as a writer, I’ve learned to thrive on chaos.



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