30 Jul The Importance of a Command Center
One of the best things you can do to stay organized is set up a good command center. This is a temporary ‘dumping ground’ (albeit an organized one) where you place items you need to immediately tend to. I typically file items throughout the week into my designated folders, and then tend to the command center on Sunday, when I also backup my computer files onto two separate external hard drives. This usually takes less than one hour, since I do it once a week.
I have 5 separate ‘active’ files:
- To Do
- Pending (tems that are still active and in process, but you are waiting for a response from someone else)
I always open my mail near the command center so I can place items in the proper folders. For example, I recently received a notice about a safety recall for parts on my Fiat 500e. I placed this in the To Do file. Once I called the dealership to order the parts, I moved it to the Pending file (because the dealership has to call me when the parts are in and I can schedule the service appointment). When that appointment is scheduled it will go back in the To Do file so I have the document ready for my appointment. Once the service is complete, I will likely scan it and save the digital file to my ‘car’ folder on my computer. I will then place the document in the Shred file to be shredded.
My command center also holds my accordion file for receipts (I also have one for gift cards and coupons). I purchased this for a dollar at Target, and used the tabs to create my own categories. I tend to purge the receipts once a quarter, scanning ones I’ll need later for my taxes. This way, if I need to return an item, I know exactly where the receipt is. A lot of stores have great return policies (even grocery stores) if you have the receipt. This has saved me a lot of money over the years.
The command center is also a great place for me to store books I’m currently using (like the Clutter Control book that a pre-teen client donated to me) and my Brilliant Ideas book (for blog ideas). I also put outgoing postal mail here. Thankfully this basket is large enough to hold some of my other office supplies. It’s the perfect command center for me, because I can move it from the desk in my room, to my office desk, to the dining room table if I need more space.
Since I live a (more or less) paperless lifestyle, my command center must sync with my computer. As you can see on my desktop I have my hard drive, an active folder, my documents, and my pictures. Within the active folder I have a pending folder and a folder for items I need to digitally file. My ‘To (Digitally) File’ folder includes the following folders:
- Books (for audio or digital books I download)
- Documents (individual documents)
- Files (If I create bulk files)
- Songs (that I download)
When I download a new book or song, I make sure to copy it into the appropriate file in the ‘To (Digitally) File’ folder. When I download photos or videos from my phone or computer, a copy goes into the Photos or Videos folder. If I scan an item, a copy goes into the Scan folder. When I create new documents and save them, I save a copy to my Documents folder. Copies go here so that when I back-up my computer once a week, I have everything in one place.
Alternatively to backing up on your computer, you can backup to Dropbox. This is a great online storage service for backing up and saving your digital files. I have two Dropbox accounts: a personal one and a professional one. Check it out for yourself here – I think you’ll be pleased with it.
The actual digital files are filed within either my documents folder (on desktop), my pictures file, or my iTunes library. When I publish my blog on going paperless, I will show you how I arrange my paperless digital files. The digital command center helps to keep me as organized as the physical command center, and for that I am thankful.
If you need help getting your command center up and running, contact me for an in-person or Skype session!