• jondab

Controlling Office Clutter: Project Bins



Life is rarely linear. It’s not like we get up in the morning and start on a project and complete that project. Even when we schedule and block out times, life often happens, and we need to change track.


And if you are like me, you have multiple projects that you are working on. I might be working on updating client journals and then I get a call from a client that means I need to go into her file, look up an email, and take some notes. The first project is just pushed aside. Then when I am though for the moment on the interruption, I realize that it is almost time for a Zoom call.


Some days it feels like you are all over the place and piles of paper connected with these multiple projects are stacked here and there. The paper clutter is distracting and can mess with your focus.

To control the paper clutter, I utilize project bins. Even if I must push a project aside for a short while, when I get a break, I can gather up all the work and put it in its own bin. Then the next time I have a scheduled block of time to work, I just pull out the bin and there is all my data and notes in one place – not mixed in stacks with other projects.


I designate one bin for each large project. Some smaller projects can go into folders within a bin. For example, I have one bin labeled presentations. This bin holds notes for presentations that have not yet been given. There may be several of these in one bin and they each have their folder. Once the presentation has been given, that folder is removed from the bin as it is no longer a project.


My clearly labeled bins sit on a shelf in my credenza in my office. They are at easily at hand, but I do not need to look at the paper except for when I pull it out for work. I find this keeps my mind clear for whatever I am working on currently. The bins greatly reduce my stress because the projects are not always in my face yelling at me. I love the clean desk ready for just the one active project.


I have had clients who work on multiple committees use the bins with great success. When going to a meeting, they can grab up the bin and take it with them. Another person used the bins to keep up with different aspects of planning her daughter’s wedding.


The point is that the bin system is a wonderful way to keep your desk clean and alleviate the stress of multiple projects. Look at your desk. What papers are lurking there? Would sorting them and putting them away in a bin help you have a clear office zone?


If you want help setting up organizational systems join Diane Quintana and myself on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.

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