You're dashing out the door, your kid's lunch box in one hand, laptop case in the other with a coffee mug balancing on top. You make it to your son's school three minutes before class and breathe a sigh of relief… You just might make it to work on time. As you pull out of the school parking lot, the alarm rings in your brain. "Oh no! I forgot to bring the disk with my PowerPoint presentation for today's meeting!" You want to turn around, but it's too late.

After you stumble through the meeting (without your PowerPoint notes), you resolve to get organized. You know if you can get things a bit more orderly, you'll be less stressed, more prepared and you'll look and perform better at work. Maybe even the morning ride with your son will include an enjoyable conversation, rather than a peddle-to-the-metal Indy 500 race.

Here are 7 simple organizing tips to create more serenity and focus both at work and at home. That way when you have to zip out the door in 20 seconds flat, you can grab what you need and go.

1. Think 'Less is More'

The less stuff you have, the less you have to sort through, organize, pile, stack and deal with. When you're at the office supply store, resist the urge to buy one more new tech gadget to add to your pile at the office. If you feel like you have to buy one (it's an iPhone, after all), wait just one day. For 24 hours, consider whether you need the item, not just want it. Then decide.

2. Apply the 'One in, One Out Rule'

Think about the areas around you that have too much stuff. The garage? Your desk? Your office? The living room? Any areas that already spill over with clutter don't need any more items added.
The rule is: you add something to the space, you get rid of something else in the space. Your clutter problem may not be solved, but at least you're not making it worse.

3. Find a Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

If your things don't have a place to go, organizing can seem impossible. It's helpful to group like-things together. For example, all of your tools can logically go on shelves in the garage.That way when you find three Philips screwdrivers strewn about your house, you'll have a place to put them. When you're organizing, a secret for finding a place for something is to ask the question: "Where will I find this?"

4. Use Something, Return it to Its Home

Do you remember as a kid hearing, "Put your toys back in their proper places"? And yet we wonder why there are files spread across the floor and three coffee mugs next to the keyboard. Get in the habit of using something and then putting it back where you found it. In shared office space, people will be less frustrated when everyone returns things to where they belong. They'll go to the cupboard and find a tea cup.

5. Get the Timer

Organizing in short bursts can make the difference between clutter and order.To organize troublespots, such as your desk or the entryway to your house, get the timer. Set it for a short amount of time, anywhere from five to 15 minutes. Pick your targeted area, set the timer and go to work. For example, one man decided to do a five-minute speed clean after cooking dinner. Make it a fun game that you zip through.

6. Keep Junk Mail Out

Much of the clutter to wade through, clear off and climb over is paper piles. Place a recycling bin and/or a shredder right next to your inbox. Make it easy to get rid of paper so that you simply put sheets into your bin or shred them right away. Before a piece of junk mail sneaks into your inbox, discard it immediately. Also, keep the number of magazines you have at any given time to no more than three.

7. Outsource Cleaning

Hire a company or person you trust to come in and clean one to two times a month. It'll motivate you to declutter before they come and you'll return home to sparkling counter tops. Some will even organize closets or drawers for you. And if your car turns into a gym locker by the end of the week, bring it to a car wash that will scrub and vacuum it inside and out. You'll enjoy calmer rides with less stuff weighing you down.

If you apply just one of these simple organizing tips, you'll breathe easier today. Pick the one that seems so easy, it would be almost impossible not to do. Then go to work on it, because any order to a chaotic space will bring greater clarity, more energy and boost your confidence to get out the door knowing you have what you need.

Here are 7 simple organizing tips to create more serenity and focus both at work and at home. That way when you have to zip out the door in 20 seconds flat, you can grab what you need and go.

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