Getting organized to write: finding things

Over the years, I can’t begin to estimate how much time I’ve wasted looking for things I’ve misplaced—slips of papers with ideas on them, contracts, books, emails…

messy-filing-cabinet-707x1024You name it, I’ve misplaced it. And I’ve spent hours and hours and hours searching for something, only to have it turn up shortly after I stopped looking for it.

Can you relate?

I won’t try to fool you into thinking I’ve solved this issue. But this week, I will mention a few things I’ve learned.

It’s much easier to find things if you leave them in the location where you put them down the first time.

If I put things down once, I can usually find them again. But if I move them to a “better, safer” place, I can guarantee you I won’t remember where I put them.

The old adage,”A place for everything and everything in its place” really works.

The trick is to have a place ready for whatever you’re going to have coming in.

  • A slip of paper with an idea on it should go either into a file folder for ideas or the file folder for the project the idea concerns.
  • A new book on writing should go on the shelf for that kind of book.
  • A contract should be put it either a file for contracts or the file for that particular project, be it on your computer or in your filing drawer.
  • Even an email you don’t want to lose should be put it into the file folder for that topic in your email program.

By having places for everything, you won’t do what I’ve frequently done—stand in the middle of my office surrounded by piles of clutter, feeling overwhelmed because I don’t know where to put any of it. Or worse, wanting to write, but not being able to because I don’t know where relevant information is hiding, and berating myself that before I can write, I have to first get my space in order. And that feels like such a huge task, I just want to walk away and forget about writing at all!

More coming on how to get organized so you have places for everything.

Check the Category Lists at the top of the home page for more posts on this or similar topics.
To see my office and get more details, watch my YouTube video, “Organizing to Write: Your Space.”


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Oh dear. Hope you and your daughter and the baby all all good. and that you’ve found a few things you are happy about.

Was the problem the video or…?


Janis Cox

I am working on this seriously. My daughter came yesterday to help me – she has a 2 month old baby. Between the two of us I started to get reorganized. I seemed to have shoved things into drawers – with no rhyme nor reason. And I save everything. We I have a bin of recycling.
I tried to listen to your YouTube but couldn’t hear it at all on my IPAD.


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