Like most people who do a lot of their work at home, I frequently live amid chaos -- phones ringing, emails binging and someone always popping up at my study door, telling me so-and-so is calling just as someone has arrived for a meeting! It can often be overwhelming.
But my environment? That's as neat as a pin. My desk is a geometric work of art -- pens in their cup and papers neatly stacked -- and my appointment book is as clean and precise as an airline schedule. Well, most of the time. I think the reason I try to keep it this way is because it gives me the illusion that I'm keeping the calamity at bay. If everything is in its place, things can't be too badly out of control, right?
But there are many more ways we can keep life from overtaking us. For example, my friend Alene gave me a wonderful tip for keeping basic paperwork to a minimum. "You know how you always go through the same stack of memos, day after day, picking which ones to attend to first?" she asked me. "Well, all you have to do is get a red pen and make a little dot in the corner of the memos you don't have the time to answer -- and you do that every time you review the stack. Once a memo has three dots on it, that's it -- throw it out. It mustn't have been that important anyway."
I've always loved that tip, and I was convinced there were more where it came from. So in honor of spring cleaning, I checked in with some other pals -- experts in the art of time-and-space management -- who gave me some great advice on how to reorganize, de-clutter and (most important!) reclaim my life. Take a look.