Happy New Year


Photo Credit: Marcia Ramsland www.OrganizingPro.com

My friend Marcia Ramsland, The Leading Online Organizing Coach, (www.OrganizingPro.com) best selling author, and speaker, has some words of wisdom that are worth heeding any time of the year but especially at the start of a new year.

I’ve learned from her over the years and every once in a while I return to her helpful and succinct piece of advice called:

The Two-Minute Pickup™

You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in one hundred and twenty seconds when you are determined and focused. Instead of giving up or giving in to self-pity, take charge! Each of the following steps requires just two minutes or less. I practice one or more each day–especially when I have a little time on my hands before running an errand or going to the grocery story or waiting for a friend to drop by.

  1. Send an e-mail that moves an action forward. (Example: Respond to an invitation or send a note of thanks, etc.)
  1. Return file folders to their proper drawer or cabinet. (Example: You’ve finished working on your finances for the month or updating your medical records. Stow the copy and notes in the rightful folder before it becomes another piece of clutter on your desk.)
  1. Make a phone call to someone’s message center. (Example: Confirm or respond to an appointment, etc.)
  1. “Stair-step” your files or projects on one side of the desk. Put the most important one on top and the next one a half inch above and behind that one and so on. (Example: an article you want to read, followed by a list of people you want to contact for a meeting, followed by bills you need to pay, and so on.)
  1. Create a short ‘action’ list for the day. (Example: file, phone, attend meeting, etc.)
  1. Put three (no more) Post-it notes on your desk with an action step on each one (Example: Call Jan for a hair appointment; prepare notes for meeting with staff; list items to take to Good Will.) Toss the note when completed OR:
  1. Make an entry or cross off a completed task in your Daily Planner on paper or online. (Example: scheduled dental appointment; responded to request for volunteer work.)
  1. Clear off and wipe down your desk and computer station. (Example: Keep a few cleaning supplies on a shelf or in a cabinet so you won’t put off this daily task. A clean, dust-free desk and computer station create a healthy and attractive work environment.)
  1. Set out the tools or equipment needed for your next project. (Example: paper cutter, three-hole punch, guidelines, computer paper, sharpened pencils, etc.)
  1. Transfer contact info from business cards or voice mail messages to your contact manager system. (Example: Instead of tossing business cards into a drawer, or scribbling a name and phone number on a scrap of paper after picking it up from your voice mail, type the info into a designated computer address file, e-mail address book, or whatever system works for you. Then toss or shred the cards or notes. In less than a minute you’ve eliminated one more piece of clutter.)

You can do it–if you want to.

keep it simple



Organize Your Time and Space–In Two Minutes or Less — 10 Comments

  1. Great advice. Now let’s see how well I do at following it! Well, some of it anyway. Thanks Karen. I needed that.
    I have decided that my verses for this year are Psalm 34 1-3. They just came to mind the other day and I am praying I will “Praise the Lord at all times.”

  2. Great system and one that would be easy to follow! I never did have a ‘business’ which required so many things to keep organized but I did learn from others how to keep my ‘house’ organized and that is to have a place for everything and if you use it put it back in it’s place! I laugh at the book “life’s too short to fold your underwear” because if you fold you underwear you can get twice as much in the drawer. (sorry Fellows, but this can be true for you too).
    Same is true for folding towels for the linen closet!
    Thanks for sharing this VERY helpful information. Your friend sounds like ‘my kind of gal’! Margaret

    • Thanks, Margaret. Charles was Marcia’s kind of guy! In fact, she came to our house to photograph our linen closet and Charles’ drawers and hanging shirts–all with pristine accuracy that he learned in the military!! 🙂

  3. This came at a great time! I spent a whole day cleaning my office, but I had no system to keep it from degenerating to a mess again. This is perfect! We so often underestimate how much we can do in a tiny bit of time. Happy New Year, Karen!!!

    • Thanks, Kristi. Great to hear from you. I’m happy that Marcia’s system will help you make the most of little two-minute segments of time.

  4. Thank you very much Karen for your great reminders. They are definitely life giving. What a wonderful reminder from both you and Etta Mae to keep God the center of our lives. It was really amazing that I was on the phone with in a live webinar from Marcia Ramsland that I happened to click on to your article. I was so surprised that Marcia’s picture and her ideas were being highlighted. God does work in mysterious ways. Thank you again Karen for always following the leading of the Lord with your writing. You inspire me.

    • Thanks, Sandy. I remember now that you and Marcia know each other and that she has helped you with her organizing tips.

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