5 Simple Rules That Take You From Chaos to Calm


I’m not trying to be bossy or anything, but sometimes we need some rules to live and work by.

Otherwise, chaos reigns, and uhm … well, everything is just plain out of control when chaos is in control. If you know what I mean.

And I get that nobody likes rules – least of all myself. If you’ve been reading my articles for some time now, you know structure and following the norm is not the way I roll.

But there are some things I do on a pretty consistent basis that help keep things orderly in my day. They’re not in any particular order nor preference. They’re just simple little things that are easy to do that keep the chaos away.

They don’t take any additional time out of my day either. As a matter of fact – doing these things saves me oodles of time … as well as any stress and frustration that comes along with chaos. And they will for you too.

So, without further overture (I looked this one up), here they are:

Drum roll, please …

Don’t put it down – put it away. This is such a small thing, yet yields huge results when it comes to maintaining order. It really only takes a few itsy bitsy seconds to put things back when you’re done with them. If you pull a file and you’re done with it – put it back. If you just used the hole punch and you’re done with it – put it back where it belongs. Even if you don’t put stuff away immediately, make sure you do it before you leave your office for the day. That way you won’t have to face the mess first thing in the morning.

Do the little things right away. If a task will only take you a couple of minutes or less to complete … just do it. Don’t waste time looking at it and then postponing it to later. Need to call Mary for a code? Call her. Need to sign off on a report? Sign off. Quit putting off the small stuff. If you leave it too long, those little things seem to grow with time.

Plan for tomorrow. Before you leave for the day, make sure you take a few minutes to determine what your priority tasks for the next day will be. Write them down and be sure to place them in a spot that you’ll immediately notice when you sit down and begin your workday. That way you know exactly what needs to get done before any new stuff gets consideration.

Delete, purge, recycle. Stuff always manages to come to you. Emails pop in, the snail mail arrives, papers get dumped on your desk, the Print key gets used liberally. The trick to staying ahead of all this is to get rid of stuff as you go. Every day make it a mission that you will delete some emails and shred or recycle some papers you no longer need. Be ruthless! 80% of the stuff you keep NEVER gets looked at again – ever! You’re keeping far more than you really need to.

Complete at least one incompletion a day. Maybe you won’t always have time, but most days do what you can to get rid of that old niggly stuff that’s been hanging around for far too long. Just pick something randomly and get it done. Or better yet, make the decision to just dump it once and for all. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel just by getting one silly old thing done. I dare you to try it.

Ta-Dah! There you have it … 5 nice and easy rules that are guaranteed to take you from chaos to calm. Those rules aren’t so bad, are they?

Once you experience the benefits of following these rules, you’ll learn to love rules. Okay, perhaps ‘love’ is too strong of a word, but I bet you’ll appreciate them.

Keep it up every day, and before you know it – chaos will no longer reign over your workspace.

What other rules do you use to keep the chaos away?

Create some new rules … get more done.

Now, get on with your day!

If you need help getting your workspace to a calm state, check out my organizing and coaching services. I’m just a quick email away.

About Georgina Forrest

Georgina Forrest is a Productivity Coach & Organizing Specialist at Smartworks! Enterprises Inc. in Red Deer, Alberta. Her credentials include Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®), Organizer Coach, and membership with Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) where she has attained Gold Leaf status – a designation acknowledging her as an experienced professional organizer. Her specialties are geared toward increasing productivity, streamlining administration and decreasing stress in the workplace. She will teach you how to manage your time, space and information so you can be more effective and efficient at work. Additionally she offers training programs, productivity coaching and time management-related presentations.