I’m lazy and a procrastinator. I’m taking an important volunteer job. It will mean I’m taking on enormous computer responsibilities (newsletter, letters, reports, name tags, photos) that take computer organization along with physical organization like file cabinets, books and albums. My office is filled already. The job is a two year commitment. Basically I’m just overwhelmed and do nothing instead of prepare for this job that starts soon. Please help.

Hello Ginny!

As a Pile Person and an avid United Way Volunteer, I know EXACTLY how you feel. Here are a few ways to get started on getting organized:

First of all, and this part is the annoying, tedius and painful part, take on your current office clutter and have a pitching party. Set aside 2 back-to-back hours for your physical files on one day and 1 hour for your computer files on another day. You in no means have to be perfect, but if you can get rid of any old catalogs, receipts and bills over 7 years old, any other trash, you may find you have much more space for the new volunteer work.

On your computer, is your desktop a mess or your storage low from too many files? Get a back-up external Hard drive and put all of your family photos and other rarely used files onto the external hard drive. It’s also a good idea to back-up all of the new volunteer files onto the external hard drive for safe keeping.

Next, designate ONE area in your home office to be just for your volunteer stuff complete with its own portable or stationary filing cabinet (ask the organization if they will supply one for you). If you know you’ll end up keep a lot of items on your desk, get a stacking paper sorter labeled “To Read, To Deal With, To File”. If the sorter gets starts to overflow, you know it’s time to clean it out (probably once a week).

As for photos, get them printed and placed into an Album as SOON as you take them. Buy a couple albums right now, set up an online photo account asap just for the organization, and as soon as you get home from taking any pictures, upload them and have them shipped. Then right when they arrive, place them in the album and you’re done! Trust me, 15 minutes at once is a heck of a lot easier than 3 hours of sorting uploading, etc when you need an album for a gala and you haven’t developed any pictures.

For the newsletter & reports, make your templates now, before the position starts so you can just fill in the blanks when you take over. Designate files for each area on the computer, and as I said, back-up the files onto an external hard drive in case the unthinkable happens and your computer crashes.

I know that going through your current files is probably going to be boring and frustrating, but you save yourself time and energy in the long run. In addition. Pick one time to go through all of your volunteer to do’s and looming piles weekly to keep the clutter down and your aggravation to a minimum.

Kicking procrastination in the tail is NOT an easy, overnight transformation and don’t try to be perfect. Just keep your organizing at a level where you have the least anxiety and stress about it.

I hope this helps and thanks again for your question!

Kind Regards,