Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Time To Get Yourself and Your Work Organized–Again?

Summer is over for many and Winter isn’t here yet. September and October is often a Limbo time. It’s too soon for major holiday planning but you can feel the approach of the end of the calendar year. Summer vacations are over but there seems to be a slow return to what will be a hectic pace to make up for it all. I’ve been sensing some lethargy in people who usually are high energy! (Maybe me, too!)

This would be a good week to make the time–schedule it-and tidy your office or work space, organize your work for the next few days and get some projects off your mind.

1. Take everything off your desk top and dust or wash items. Don’t just shuffle things around, make it look better and different when you put the items back–and don’t put all the items back. Stuff can be very distracting, both to you and to others.

2. Make a priority list of three items only. Three. Preferably three you’ve been stalling on. Do them as quickly as you can and get them out of the way. They might not be three Vital tasks or Crucial tasks, to use that concept. They could just be three tasks that you don’t want to think about anymore. Do them quickly.

3. List all of the remaining projects you must do and when they must be done; tasks you think would be good to do and when you’d like to have them started; things you really would like to get involved with and will if you possibly can sometime. The idea is to see what is hanging over your head with a vengance and what is just self-created pressure. If they’re on a list, you at least won’t forget about them completely, but you can let them rest. You may never do some of them, but you might adapt the thoughts some way.

One way to get focused is to make sure that you are being dependable for those who are expecting you to keep promises about work. After the three quick tasks, those are the tasks that need your attention.

4. Take a moment to do some introspective thinking about what is frustrating you right now that you have some control over. What are some things you can do to move yourself past that frustration? Think hopeful thoughts about the rest of this month and into the Fall and Winter. Let some anger or irritation go. Give yourself some peace of mind.

5. Survey your kingdom–or at least your cubicle, locker, patrol car, work space, or wherever you spend most of your time–and let yourself feel refreshed and recharged about it. 

A man who seems very put-together told me last week that about once a month he has to stop for a moment, get things re-organized and say to himself, with a pleased sigh, “OK, that’s better. Carry on.” Make this week your time for that kind of emotionally and mentally healthy activity, then let me know how it makes you feel. Best wishes!

September 25th, 2011 Posted by | Keeping On!, Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers | 10 comments


  1. Oh Tina, I have been SO disorganized lately! I saw this article this morning and thought someone must have called you and complained. I just now finished three things that should have been done two weeks ago. My desk is sparkling clean, but without the hour glass that I’ve had there for two years that was always toppling over. I do feel better, I really do! Have a great week! P.

    Comment by P.A.H. | September 26, 2011

  2. I’ve noticed the same thing about this time of year. I blame it on waiting for football games, talking about football games and debating about players and coaches. If you don’t watch football I don’t know what your excuse would be, I guess then you’re just being lazy. Anyway, I did clean up my desk as ordered and you’re right, it helps.

    Comment by Roger C. | September 26, 2011

  3. Hi Tina, Kara, checking in. I cleaned out my locker and squad car and even cleaned up the break room. Now they want to put me on a Psych Hold. (I have to admit, the locker really needed it!)

    Comment by FTO2000 | September 27, 2011

  4. I just did this exercise and found it useful. But,it seems to me I just did it as a New Years activity too! I liked the three item project and cleared that up before noon. Relief!

    Comment by Careerist | September 27, 2011

  5. Ms. Rowe, you seem to be carrying on my philosophies well. A place for everything, a clean desk shows a clean mind, etc. We need you at the FBI! J. Edgar Hoover

    Comment by J. Edgar Hoover | September 27, 2011

  6. There are times when the clutter in my head is even worse than clutter on my desk. That is the time to do something similar to your suggestion here: I take the time to make a list and prioritize my tasks so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. Having said that, I do agree that a clutter-free desk helps tremendously too.

    Comment by Lisa M. | September 27, 2011

  7. OK, I needed this. I get such Spring Fever in the Fall! I don’t want to work and nothing seems to come together right. But, just now I cleaned off my desk top and organized some things, so maybe that will help. Actually, what I did was tell everyone else that they were going to join me in cleaning up their work areas so we could all get focused. I’m looking at a bunch of clean desks right now!

    Comment by Byers2 | September 27, 2011

  8. I’m not sure I agree that we do better work with a clean desk, but I get your point. The thing that I took away from this is that I did five things, not just three, that needed to be done. They took me an hour and I’d been stalling on them for two weeks. I’ll start on my desk some other time. 🙂

    Comment by Not Martha Stewart | September 27, 2011

  9. Taking a few minutes every day to straighten up my desk, right before I leave, really works for me. I force myself to do it, no matter how much I want to keep working. The last ten minutes of the day is my winding down time and I have done that for years and found it to be a good way to keep things oragnized and also to get me out of the door on time.

    Comment by R.M. | October 1, 2011

  10. I had to go to the office today and decided to organize things while I was there. I hate to admit it, but I’m a little bit jazzed about getting to work tomorrow now that everything is where it’s supposed to be. I even did the three things you told me to do. Thanks, Ms. Rowe!

    Comment by Hal | October 2, 2011

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