Thursday, February 16, 2012

Getting Organized

The other day the family was going on a short trip.  I told my son to make sure he had his learners permit so he could drive.  It was time to go and he was looking for his wallet.  He couldn’t find it.  The time to leave approached and it finally got to the point where we had to leave.  He didn’t have his wallet, so he missed an opportunity to drive the family.

The next day I had to run a few errands, I told him to get his permit and he could be my chauffer.  He couldn’t find it.  So I ran my errands, and drove myself.

I dropped my son off at school and asked if he ever found his wallet. 

“Yea, it was under my khaki pants,” he sheepishly replied.

“I thought you put those in your drawer when you put your laundry away.”

“I was going to do that later.”

I then had a teaching moment.  He missed an opportunity to drive the car on several occasions because he didn’t take the time to keep his room clean.  His “lost” wallet was on top of his dresser, where it belonged, but because of other things, it was out of sight.  I don’t think he understood my message. 

In my professional job, I try to keep things organized.  My employees know I want the inventory, and the tools kept in their places.  I keep a box cutter in the top left drawer of my desk.  When someone needs to open a box, they go to that drawer to get the box cutters.  If someone does not put it back when they are finished a lot of time and energy is expended looking for the box cutters.  I refuse to buy several – I keep just one.  It forces my crew to put it back.  When everyone does things go much better.  Everyone knows where to go to get what they need when they need it.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, being organized is a great way to keep productivity up, and saves you time.  You don’t have to spend time looking for things.  I hate looking for things.  I’ve enough stuff going on in my life without having to stop what I’m doing to search for something I need, a tool, a file, an application, my phone, anything.  It is very frustrating to have to stop what I’m doing to look for something I need.

A help for de-cluttering is the kaizen processes the 5-Sprogram. Now this is more than needed for your own work area and home, but the ideas to get organized and stay organized are great.

1.      Sort
2.      Set in Order
3.      Shine
4.      Standardize
5.      Sustain
For me, my garage and office at home the steps of sort, set in order and sustain work for me.
Basically take the area to be organized and pull everything out of the area and sort through the stuff.  Set up four piles
1.      Stuff to be used in the area
2.      Stuff to keep, but used somewhere else
3.      Stuff to give away
4.      Stuff to throw away

I find the trash pile is the biggest pile.

Then take the stuff for the area back in and organize it.  Then that self discipline thing kicks in and keep it clean and organized.

Life becomes easier because looking for things doesn’t happen as often as it does now.  Eliminate clutter from life makes life easer to live.

What areas do you have that need attention?  What have you done to get organized?  What worked for you?

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