A couple of items on the list really jumped out at me--#26 Create a simple mail and paperwork system and #30 Keep your email inbox empty, for instance--but it made no sense to attempt to alter my patterns without recognizing and dealing with some prerequisites. It doesn't matter how I handle incoming mail if my office looks like a tornado just passed through, or you can't see the color of my desk because papers cover the top of it.
So, I put those two off until I'd done the basics. I told you yesterday about cleaning and organizing our home office. I also started the process at work. The first thing I did was to follow #28 Clear your desk. I began by completely cleaning off the top of my desk. Now, it holds only my lamp, a couple of framed pictures, a blotter, a pencil holder, a coaster for my coffee cup or water bottle, a business-card holder, and an inbox. It looks so much better now. There's plenty of space for working--a vast, peaceful expanse--and my inbox contains only items that I will handle within the next day or two. Everything else was filed, recorded, or thrown away. The drawers aren't too bad, but I'm taking it slowly and organizing one drawer a day. Another new rule: I do not leave work for the day without my desktop being clear. It forces me to handle things immediately, and it feels wonderful to walk in my office the next morning and see that clean desk. Such a simple rule, but so effective. Seeing all that clutter as I entered my office every day used to raise my stress level before work even began. Now, I see the desk and actually feel calmer.
My mail/paperwork/email systems? Tomorrow.