It’s hard to be productive and efficient when there is clutter and when you have no organization. And I’ll let you in on a little secret (hoping that my hubby is not reading this post) I have never been able to keep my desk organized. That has always been a weakness of mine. But now that my husband and I share an office, O.M.G our desk is a straight M.E.S.S.
We have this huge t-shaped desk and he works on one side and I work on the other. And we have a pile of important papers (i.e mess ) in the middle. And we blame each other. Because I know for sure that I was not that messy before him (I think 🙂 )
But don’t worry, you will never see that mess. Because we are pros at getting it cleaned off before any guests hit the front door!!
Sometimes I try to make myself feel better by saying: “My desk looks like the desk of a person that has a lot of important work to do. And anybody with a pristine desk just doesn’t have any real work going on.”
I am really hampering my productivity when I am not organized.
But I know the real deal. It’s hard to be productive and efficient when there is clutter and when you have no organization. At least for me, I waste more time looking for things on my messy desk and looking for my keys.
This is why I am so thankful to be participating in the Fellowes Moms Ambassador program. Fellowes is partnering with the Identity Theft Resource Center to provide me and the BMWK family of readers with information that will help us to protect ourselves from identity theft.
And since January is Get Organized Month, Fellowes is providing us with tips on how set ourselves up for success in 2012 by organizing our offices. A clear and comfortable work space not only contributes to better productivity, but also helps to protect against identity theft.
Check out some of the following tips that Fellowes gave us on how to manage all of those confidential papers that we keep for years and years because we are afraid we are going to need them.
Kick off your home office organization by sorting through the piles of paperwork that have collected in your home over the past year. Many papers may have confidential information on them, so place documents into two categories: “save” and “shred.” Organize the “save” pile into labeled folders and be sure to put anything confidential in a fire-proof lock box. The “shred” pile should be properly disposed using a Cross-Cut shredder, like P-12C Cross-Cut Shredder that Fellowes gave me. By the way..I love that shredder and it makes getting rid of confidential papers so easy!!
Not sure which papers to save and which to toss? Here are some helpful guidelines to help you organize:
- Tax returns: Keep tax returns and supporting records, like W-2s and 1099s for at least seven years.
- Investment statements for taxable accounts: Most brokerage firms and mutual fund companies send annual statements summarizing the year’s transactions. Once you have these, you should shred your monthly and/or quarterly statements.
- Bank statements: Keep statements that back up information on your tax returns for up to seven years. Other bank statements can be shredded after reviewing for errors.
- Credit card statements: If you still receive paper statements each month, keep those for big purchases, like jewelry or large appliances. You might need them for warranties. If you put charitable contributions on your credit card, keep the statement for your tax records. Other monthly statements can be shredded once you’ve reviewed them for errors or unauthorized purchases.
- Pay stubs: While many people say to save these, it’s a huge mistake. They contain everything an identity thief needs to open an account. Keep three months of history only if you are applying for a mortgage.
- ATM receipts: Shred all receipts after you balance your bank statement.
- Canceled checks: With no significance for tax or other purposes, these should be destroyed after one year.
- Retirement plan contributions: Keep records of contributions to non-deductible individual retirement accounts, such as a Roth IRA, indefinitely. Without them, you may find yourself paying taxes again when the money is withdrawn. Some financial institutions keep records of IRA contributions, but it is best not to count on it.
- Insurance policies, wills and other legal documents: These documents should be kept indefinitely.
BMWK Family – Are you holding on to old documents? What’s the key to keeping your desk organized? Do you share an office with a messy spouse? If so, how do you handle it?
Disclosure: For participating as a Fellowes Mom, I was provided travel and accommodations to visit Fellowes in Chicago. I was also given a Fellowes P-12C Shredder, free of charge, to review. However, all views and opinions expressed are solely my own.