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The Ambiguity Effect

When something is ambiguous, we avoid it. Things that are hard to tackle seem overwhelming. This can be true in life with the big decisions and the small tasks. It can also be true of your desktop and inbox.

Your computer’s desktop is a reflection of your physical space. A screen filled with file icons is like a desk with massive piles of paper.

The main issue with disorganization like this, is not being able to use the information that you’ve already created. How much time gets wasted trying to find the most recent document, or a document from years ago? Time is precious, and can be worth a lot of money and frustration.

Your information is cluttered and disorganized and needs your attention when you can’t find stuff, you can’t understand it even when you do find it, you have a poor memory of what you have and where it is, you can’t bring together the complete story of an issues, project, or event, and you are re-doing the same things.

Here are six steps to clear desktop clutter:

  1. Start by identifying the different themes or functions of your work.
  2. Each function needs its own folder.
  3. Within each folder are sub-folders and files.
  4. Everything that has to do with that function must be housed within the corresponding folder.
  5. Title all folders and files a name that describes what it contains. Use numbers when appropriate -for example there are a lot of files or when they need to be in a specific order. I use numbers with invoices to keep track of the date they were sent, as using the month would put them out of order.
  6. Start dragging and dropping.

Don’t worry about going back and tidying old files, that task can be overwhelming. Start with today.

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