Overwhelmed? Office Support

Organizing Out of Control Offices Amidst Homeschool

You can do it, yes you can!
Climbing the mountains of paperwork is profitable work.  If your office is a mess, take a deep breath, pick up a piece of paper and start a pile.  If you don’t have a designated office area, make one.  It’s as simple as that.    

 I took a deep breath and picked up one piece of paper, looked at it, and decided it was ready for the trash… but I couldn’t find a waste basket and the number one rule of organizing your office is NEVER EVER leave that space until everything is pre-sorted, at least for the first round of sorting.  So, I crumpled the paper up and set it back down on top of everything else and wanted to just give up because I didn’t know where to start. 

I needed a trash can.  That was my first step!  I exited the office, looking neither to the left or right, but straight ahead until I found the first thing that would work…. A cardboard pop can box.  Hey, it works.  Back to the office I marched, afraid to look at any other part of my house, lest I become distracted.

Why do we need organization and why should anyone care?  Can’t we just live in a big mess?  Yes, we can but we’ll never be operating to full capacity if we’re always stumbling over our junk and messes.  Yep, you read that right…. Junk.  First we all have to admit that we’ve made a great mess out of our lives, relationships, decisions, and whatever else comes to mind.  We must understand the gravity of our need for Jesus Christ and His order in our life.  As long as we are holding on to, “This isn’t too bad, I’ll get around to it, some other time, maybe later, I’m busy, …..” we are holding on to our own stupidity over the power we have in Christ Jesus to make sense and order out of chaos.

Imagine a shapeless piece of paper.  Would you believe that you can make a perfect 90 degree angle out of something with no shape?  Thereby which you could measure and produce other angles?  How about a massive amount of shapeless and void water with darkness hovering over it all?  Sound familiar?  All it took was one sharp line of light spoken from God himself.  He is light the Bible tells us.  Light travels in a straight line until it reaches its destination and there it is absorbed or reflected or refracted. 

The point is, by creating one single straight line out of a chaotic mess, we can begin to produce order as we line everything else up with that first straight line.  That is why crumpling up one piece of paper really does help!  It’s the first attempt at producing order within disorder.  Don’t give up.  Pick up one more piece of paper and make a decision.   

The first time you sift and sort through your office, grab some 3X5 note cards, fold them in half and write one word descriptions on each front, such as  “School,”  “Business Ideas,”  “Writing,” or “Reading Material,” or whatever category comes to mind that you’ll understand.  Place these atop each of your piles.  Remember, this isn’t a time that you’ll read anything in depth, even if you really want to!  You will use self discipline to quickly scan and place a paper in the corresponding pile for later enjoyment or for filing away.

Keep a stack of sticky notes handy for when you find paperwork that needs to be filed.  Maybe you need to create a new file folder .  Slap a note on the front with what you want to do with it, toss it in the to-do pile and move on.  If you find any more incomplete projects, label with what you want done and keep going.  Do not stop to finish anything, it will be done at a later date.  Keep your mind focused on the task at hand, sifting and sorting, not doing. 

Tack some papers up on the wall with labels like:  Work to do in the Home, Outside, Vehicles, or perhaps room by room.  Label one paper, shopping list, one with internet research ideas, or just, “Ideas that pop into my brain.”  Keep your planner close by for any slips of paper with dates that you’ve forgotten to input. 

A dry erase board is a must!  Perhaps even two and a wall calendar...
Always keep a blank spiral notebook open or jot down on a dry erase board a running tally of things you need to do or things you’d like to do.   My friend, I’ll call her “Queen of Clean,” suggested keeping a list of phone calls to make including the person’s or business name and why you need to call, right beside your phone.  As you get a moment begin placing calls, crossing out as you go.  This simple discipline really helps throughout the day.  We begin to learn that we don’t have a lot of time for unnecessary chatter on the phone.   It helps us to focus on our duties at home.

Remember this is not the time to decide a better system or way to file.  You're not even going to place small office items in better containers.  All you’re doing is sifting and sorting.  DO NOT CLEAN or attempt any overhaul in your current way of managing.  If you try, it’s like shooting yourself in the foot.  You will be injuring yourself with too many changes at once.  Two words:  SIFT and SORT.  That’s it.

When all the sifting and sorting is done, take a break.  Walk away even for a whole day if you want too.  The paper can’t go anywhere!  Get back to it and finish with putting away each and every pile to its rightful place and commit to being disciplined with proper placement in the future.  It will add up again, it’s normal.  Just set aside a small amount of time each week to sift and sort so that it never builds up to an insurmountable mountain ever again.  All it takes is 10 or 15 minutes if you regularly file and put things away at the same time every week.

We shouldn't have to dread going into our offices.  It's a privilege to live in America where we can use and sustain a place to manage the affairs of our homes freely!  Let's take pride in keeping these areas efficient and clean, worthy to be used by God as He sees fit.  
 An office can be as simple as a basket sitting by the edge of your couch containing your organizational binder and calendar, a few good books, and a notebook and pen.  This has been a lifesaver while nursing a newborn baby and staying caught up with our day to day activities.
Office in a basket...

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