Day By Day
While more and more high-tech organizing tools spring up every day, sometimes a low-tech method works just as well. "The simpler the system, the better," says Ray Silverstein, a small-business consultant in Chicago and president of Pro-President's Resource Organization. He recommends getting organized with Oxford Plus Reinforced Expanding Files, a 1-31 daily filing system available at large office supply stores like Office Depot. A set of numbered folders, it lets you file work according to the day you'll be working on it.
Here's how it works: If something is due on March 20, estimate the time you'll need to complete it--say, three days--and file it in folder number 15. That way, you have two extra days in case of unanticipated problems or time crunches.
Silverstein also suggests buying another folder that separates work by the month. If you have a project due in September that you want to work on for the next six months, drop it into the March slot. When you reach the beginning of each month, move the projects out of that month's folder, break them down into workable increments and put them in your 1-31 file. Before you know it, you'll have cut down on clutter and better-prepared yourself for meetings and sales calls.