Save An Hour Each Day… Get Organized!!!

Today I am welcoming a guest post from John C. Erdman. I came across this article written by John over a year ago and I have had it printed out and pined above my desk. He was kind enough to let me share it with you.

I love his measles technique. I hope it boosts your productivity as much as it does mine.

Save An Hour Each Day… Get Organized!!!

What does your desk look like? A toxic waste dump? A bomb exploded? Burglars ransacked your office?

In corporate America, most business people associate a messy, disorganized desk or office with

Does your desk look like this?

Does your desk look like this?

being productive, effective and efficient. Are you a member of this club? Did you know that most people are wasting an hour each day looking for “STUFF” that’s lost on their desk? How about you? (Do you wish it was “only” an hour?) And it always happens at the most inopportune time. How many times last week did you call someone up, ask them a question, and they responded, “Hold on a second and let me find the letter/file/proposal. I know it’s here … somewhere.” And five minutes later they come back and sheepishly said: “I can’t find it; let me call you back later.” Thus, beginning another round of telephone tag and stretching a quick five-minute conversation into a five-day odyssey. If you want to get ahead in life, make more money, and even get home for dinner every once in a while, follow these 6 steps and you’ll be organized.

Step #1: Schedule an Appointment with Yourself

For most people, it takes about 2 hours to get organized. Write it on your calendar, and Keep the Appointment!!!

Step #2: No Interruptions

Turn off the telephone, close the door (or put up a Do Not Disturb sign across the entrance to your work space), and allow no interruptions! Think of this session as a meeting with your boss or most important client.

Step #3: Bring a Dumpster

Sixty percent of the stuff on most people’s desk can be tossed. So keep the papers, documents, and files you need, and throw the rest away. Remember: Don’t succumb to Cleaner’s Remorse. (Going thru the trash and pulling out the stuff you just threw away because you think you may “need it again”).

Step #4: Pick up a Piece of Paper

Now that you’ve closed the door and turned off the phone, pick up a piece of paper – any piece will do – and ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. What is it?

2. Why do I have it?

3. What am I going to do with it?

If you can’t come up with a good answer, throw it away!!! You can also use what I call the “measles theory,” meaning when you pick up a piece of paper put a red dot on the upper corner. When you are handling a piece of paper on your desk and it looks like it has the measles, it is definitely time to act on it, file it or throw it away.

Step #5: File Your Papers

If you really need to keep a piece of paper, file or proposal put it in a properly labeled file folder. If one doesn’t exist, create one on the spot.

Step #6: Record Your To-Do’s on a Master List

If there’s work to do, note it on your Master List, which is a to-do list written on a big piece of paper – like a legal tablet. You can also record your tasks inside your contact manager like ACT! or Outlook, or your Smart Phone. Before you know it, your desk will look like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, and your garbage can will be filled to the brim, overflowing, and spilling onto the floor. You’ll be organized, efficient and productive. You’ll spend your time doing things that make you successful.

[column]John C. Erdman [/column]is a business and personal development expert, professional speaker and a corporate trainer. For more information about John go to

Have a great week.


The #1 Writing Tool
About Erica

Erica Cosminsky is an HR Business Strategist for small businesses. She can slog through the pile of applicants and help deliver the best assistant to your "office door", she transforms mile long to-do lists into manageable bites, and like your best friend after a raging party, she sticks around to offer assistance or clean up any messes, etc. Find her free delegation workbook at

She is a former corporate HR Manager, and ran her own virtual business team for 4 years. She has a BS in Organizational Leadership focused in HR and is a grad student in Industrial and Organizational Psychology focused in Workplace Efficiency. Honestly, if you have questions about working with people, Erica can probably help you. Ask her on Twitter. @Cosminsky


  1. TheInfoPreneur
    Twitter: theinfopreneur

    Good post,

    So many people just don’t think they have the time, but you really do. I wrote a post called there are more than 24 hours in a day.

    If you get organised then you can take on the world!

    Good post


  1. […] them: an inbox.” And you have to learn to only touch the paper once. I also still use the measles method in this guest post by John Erdman. When I receive a paper it gets a spot. Every time I see the paper, it gets another spot. When my […]