Getting Organized – Now Is a Good Time to Get Uncluttered

Here we are a few days before Thanksgiving. You already know you are headed into the holidays, year-end planning, taxes and so on. Now is a good time to take some preemptory steps to avoid being crushed by it all.

Art Print Issues - Get UnclutteredHere we are a few days before Thanksgiving. You already know you are headed into the holidays, year-end planning, taxes and so on. Now is a good time to take some preemptory steps to avoid being crushed by it all.

If you are like me, there seems to be more to do and less time to do it. The bad news is there is no more time to allot. The good news is there are a few things that can help alleviate some of the stress of a to-do list that won’t end.

When clutter and disorganization are the worst, finding time to tackle the unending nagging tasks from cleaning out the Inbox to organizing the desk, and I am just talking about the office, not to mention getting some needed down time or merely taking care of jobs around the house is daunting, if not impossible.

There are solutions and easy steps you can take now

I do not have all the answers. There are gurus out there who make a living helping people with tasks like this. There is a very good reason why David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, (Amazon affiliate link. It was an impressive #248 among the millions available there as of this writing) is a perennial bestseller. Sometime ago, I came across the TRAF System. I’ve used it ever since when I find myself with too much stuff, whether on the computer, on the desk, or around the house, to get control of what ever has outrun my short-term ability to deal with it.

Learning to TRAF will free up your time and give you peace of mind

TRAF is an acronym for Toss, Refer, Act, File. This system has always been useful for me. I think having Toss first is important because it is the single best proactive thing you can do to get rid of junk, clutter and unnecessary stuff from your life. Just because it was interesting a week, a month, a year ago, and may still be so today, does not mean much if you have not done anything with it since.

Toss – You just have to sum up the courage to toss out most of this stuff. I am talking to you packrats now and you know whom you are. Learn to have that conversation/debate with yourself. You know the one where the packrat usually wins. Get it in your head there is another solution to hanging on to stuff and discover the freedom with letting go of those things that feel urgent, but truly are not important. Notice how you manage to get the important stuff done.

Refer means to delegate the information or task to someone else. You have enough to do without trying to be responsible for things others are better qualified to handle.

Act means just that. Do something with either it now or TRF it. If it is important, you will do it. If it is not, you should recognize it and proceed accordingly.

File is the refuge of the packrat. However, before you just move clutter from the desk to the filing cabinet, take the time to evaluate if you will ever see the item again. If the honest answer is not likely, then get rid of it.

Alternatively, get a scanner and digitize the information to reduce the clutter and make it more searchable when you need it. If email is the problem, consider getting an unlimited email plan. Go Daddy sells one that offers 10 email addresses that can take as much storage as you have. At $3 per box per year, this is a bargain. It also ensures you have a backup of all your email offline. If you use this suggestion, consider creating archive files to put everything from a certain period into one folder.

Kudos to author Stephanie Winston for her trademark TRAF System

Because I could not remember where I learned the system, I did a Google search to find who came up with TRAF. I found this article: Back to Business: Time to Organize Your Office on by Miri Tringali. She gives credit to the TRAF system to author Stephanie Winston, which seems right to me. Tringali also offers a few more useful suggestions:

• Create a Master To-Do List
• Organize Your Files
• Keep a Single Calendar
• Know Where Your Files Are

You can get more details by reading her short useful article on

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