If your desk is covered with papers, files, catalogs and mail, it's easy to get discouraged as piles seem to grow on their own.
"When your workspace is a mess, the basic disorder can begin to symbolize your other feelings as well -- as though you're weighed down by everything else in life," says Stephanie Winston, author of several books on getting organized, including The Organized Executive . "On the other hand, a desk where all the papers have been dealt with sends a very different message of order, discipline and calm."
Ms. Winston suggests the following decision-making process for clearing your desk.
Learn to TRAF
You can make only four decisions about a piece of paper: toss it; refer it, meaning pass it along or discuss it with someone else; act on it personally; or file it. Ms. Winston calls this the TRAF system.
"It's the small decisions you make that often have the most effect on your time management, efficiency and productivity," says Ms. Winston. "In fact, if you spend 15 minutes a day TRAFing the current day's incoming mail, memos and faxes, you'll soon have gained mastery over your clutter."
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