Movie soundtracks have been incredibly popular in India, with a large majority of people enjoying this type of music. Several years ago, while visiting a friend’s house, I noticed their audio cassette player and a stack of cassettes beside it. My friend encouraged me to listen to some music, so I began to search through the cassette covers, hoping to find something of interest. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the cassettes inside the covers did not match their labels, creating a frustrating and confusing experience. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to find the right cassette and had to abandon the idea of listening to music. The incident left a lasting impression on me, as I had never seen such disorganization before.

Properly storing a cassette in its corresponding cover is perhaps the most straightforward example of being organized. In fact, my experience of being unable to listen to the music due to mismatched cassettes and covers highlights the importance of organization in even the simplest of tasks.

Many people believe that being organized and being productive are two separate concepts, but in reality, they are closely interconnected. The key factor linking these two ideas is the simple notion that knowing where to find the necessary tools and materials can make a significant difference in one’s ability to complete a task. Having everything in its proper place not only provides motivation to begin a project but also saves valuable time that would otherwise be spent searching for misplaced items. In essence, organization is a key component of productivity.

The way to personal productivity is by being organized with your work material. Being organized about your work materials is as simple as planning a proper place for the things you use and then ensuring that the things always go back to those designated places. But, this is easier said than done.

At some moment it is quite possible that you are in hurry, or you are simply lazy, or you do not remember the right designated place for a thing. And when you are stuck like this, there is a big risk that you would misplace your things, which would lead to a messy workplace. This is when having a “catch-all” drawer comes in handy.

Rather than leaving things in a haphazard location, items can be placed in the catch-all drawer until there is time to properly return them to their designated places. Even those who are highly organized may find themselves in situations where they need a temporary holding place for items.

Just as it is important to stay organized with physical items, it is equally important to maintain organization with digital artifacts. Digital documents and files should be stored in designated folders on your computer or in the cloud. When new digital documents are received or created, they should be immediately placed in the appropriate folder.

However, there may be times when we are in a rush or feeling unmotivated, and we might place digital documents in the wrong folder or fail to organize them all together. To avoid a cluttered digital workspace, it is recommended to designate a catch-all folder on your storage as a temporary holding place for unorganized files. Drop these files in this folder whenever you are not able to organize them immediately. Set aside time, perhaps on a weekly basis, to visit this catch-all folder and properly organize its contents into their designated folders. This allows for some laziness while still maintaining organization and preventing clutter in your digital workspace.

Since it is easy to forget about the catch-all folder, it is important to make a habit of regularly emptying it. One effective way to ensure this is to create a recurring task in your to-do list, reminding you to organize and empty the catch-all folder or drawer. This way, you will stay on top of keeping your workspace organized and avoid clutter from building up. By making organization a regular habit, you will be able to work more efficiently and reduce stress levels that come with disorganization.

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(Originally published in Times of India on April 01, 2023)