Declare War on Time-Consuming Clutter with Action Zones

Written by Martha on January 6th, 2012

Does your struggle to be productive at work and at home feel like waging war with yourself and others?

Perhaps it makes sense to perceive that struggle as a battle ground. You are the commander. You are waging war on several fronts – special projects, ongoing skirmishes, and supply logistics.  You have a map of the terrain (the floor plan) and know what your resources are:  equipment,  personnel, and supply lines.

To win the battle, you  must match trained personnel with specialized equipment and ensure that needed supplies are available for immediate use. In other words, you want to have all the components needed to engage the enemy to come together in the same place at the same time.

I’m sure you have decided (as I have) to work on a certain project only to spend 20 minutes or more gathering all the varying pieces of information, supplies, and equipment before you can begin. Whether that is finding your mixing bowl in the kitchen, asking yourself “Where did I put my 3-hole punch this time?”, or just trying to get the kids out the door in the morning, it is time-consuming as well as frustrating!

The answer is to designate action zones.

  1. First make a decision that you are  going to start now! The time you spend in planning for efficiency will be returned to you tenfold.
  2. Brainstorm. Ask yourself what activities you actually DO in the room/area you are organizing. Perhaps the question should be – what activities do you ideally want to do there!
  3. Assign specific areas in the room, or zones, to similar activities. Try to limit each room to 2-3 zones. In an office you might have action zones for:
    • Communication Central – your desktop and shelf above
    • Reference library – bookshelf and file drawer
    • Action/Projects – credenza with In/Out boxes and incline sorter for specific activities/projects.
  4. Place equipment and supplies within arm’s reach in the appropriate zone for each activity.
    • Filing – extra hanging files, manila file folders, labels
    • Enjoying media – TV, Radio/CD player, VCR/DVD player, CD’s, DVD’s, and remotes, of course.
    • Paying bills – computer, bills, calculator, check book, stamps, address labels
    • Baking – measuring cups and spoons; mixing bowls; baking pans; spices, extracts and leavening agents
    • Getting in the car – keys, diaper bag, shoes, coats, hat, gloves & backpacks

Now that you have the stage set for control over each new project, all you need are the trained personnel. Is that you or do you have employees, friends, or children you can delegate the task to?

The beauty of action zones is that whoever is assigned to that battle will have all the tools necessary to succeed! That will save you time in both set- up and in wages paid.

You may find that once you know where everything is to get started quickly, you are raring to take on that project yourself, right now. You are the commander and it is an easy victory!

Related posts:

Leave a Comment