A clear desk = a clear mind!

Have you ever found that when your desk is messy, you cannot get anything done? You procrastinate and drag your feet, shuffling bits of paper from one side of the desk to the other! It’s a common problem - the clutter on your desk really does act as a barrier to getting on with things because it simply reminds you of everything else you still have to do, but fortunately there is a way to get your desk clear without losing information or missing an important deadline.

I’ve run my own business for 4 years, been a mum for 6 years and worked in an office before that for more than a decade. All of these roles involved being super organised and the one ‘paperwork system’ that I have brought with me through all of these years is my beloved concertina file!

The humble concertina file is largely underused in my opinion, but it is a fantastic way of organising yourself so that you accomplish more, meet your deadlines and avoid overwhelm! It is a stiff board backed file with 31 individual slots inside - all numbered, and this is for the days of the month. How you use the file is to open your days post and if it is not something that can be filed or actioned immediately, then choose a day when you will be able to manage the task and file the paper into that days’ date.

If you have a meeting with someone and need certain notes for that meeting, you can file these into the concertina pocket for that date so you don’t forget to take them with you. If you have entered a competition and want to keep track of the closing date so you know when you might hear if you’ve won, you can file the competition entry form or flyer into the relevant date so the paper is not sitting on your desk until then, draining your energy and adding to the clutter.

I use my concertina file for both business and home. If I have a domestic bill that needs paying by a certain date, I will not leave it out on my desk so it can distract me, I will file it in the date when I will choose to pay it. This also means that the money stays in my bank for as long as possible, so I get the bank interest rather than the company who invoiced me!

The key is to have the discipline to check the file every day for ‘todays tasks’ but this should quickly become a habit then it becomes part of your ongoing routine. If you find that you miss deadlines, cannot find a clear space to work or feel that you don’t have a clear head, this is a great way to ‘download’ your thoughts and get the physical paper drains off your radar whilst you put yourself 100% into something else.

Try it! You will find that you feel lighter, your office or workspace is neater and no-one can inadvertently glance at a confidential document because it’s all neatly filed away! I have shared this trick with several of my business clients and they love it. It is a mechanism that yields instant results!

If you want to know anything about time management, just ask any busy working mum!

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