This week’s office simplify project was to tackle my bookshelf of textbooks and notes. The goal wasn’t to reduce, but to create a system, any system. I have a bad habit of printing out lecture slides, writing my notes on those, then throwing them along with handouts, homework assignments, and tests loose into my backpack. If I’m smart, I designated a binder per term, and keep all my notes for all my classes for the entire term. When the term ends, I set the stack neatly on my office floor next to all the others and tell myself I’m going to do something about it tomorrow. My last boss sent me home with a stack of empty binders, and I’ve picked up more from Freecycle, but I’ve never actually managed to divide these stacks out by course and into their own binders.
Last night, I brought down stacks of paper by quarter (at least I had some organization?), my bags of binders, and a hole punch. I also brought down all the spiral bound notebooks that were only a quarter filled. I turned on the premier of Project Runway, poured myself a glass of wine, and got to work. I sorted by class, then got each of those in order by date, pulled out notes to add to the appropriate class’s material, then punched my little heart (and wrist) out. By the end, I had 6 neatly organized binders, a few gleaned notebooks, and a couple of extra square feet of floor in my office. Best of all, I’m even more ready to study for my big exam this summer.