Challenges and Solutions: Assessing Your Space and Needs

Planning out how to get organized can be easier with the following tool!

Pad of Paper & PenUsing a simple form, identify the organizational challenges of your space and start strategizing solutions.

Once you’ve determined what some of your organizing goals are and what some of the challenges are that you need to overcome, you’ll be ready to actually start the process of planning out how you are going to get organized. The first thing that needs to happen is you need to do what is called a Needs Assessment of your systems and your space. This helps determine what needs to happen in order for you to get more organized. Identify what specific changes you need to make in order to get from where you are now to how organized you would like to be. To do this, create a simple, two-column form detailing Challenges and Solutions.

At the top of the form, name with the space that you are going to be working on—let’s say it’s your home office. Beneath that, label the two columns: Challenges and Solutions. Using this form, take a tour of the space that you would like to get more organized. Write down each of the specific challenges that you notice in the space. Try to look at this with a fresh pair of eyes, as if you were someone walking into your workspace for the very first time. What do you see that could be changed or made better? What do you think about the different systems, tools, or pieces of furniture that are there? Do you think they are working? Note down the things you notice that could be made better.

In the Solution column, write down a few ideas for how you think you can address the items in the Challenges column. Think of changes that could be made to help the systems improve or ways to reorganize the workspace so as to be more effectively organized.

For instance, let’s say we open the door to your office and the first thing you notice is that there are papers on the floor. Obviously that is a Challenge. A Solution might be to look for new homes for the paper, or read through the papers to reduce what’s there. You might also consider finding how and where you store papers so that they have a dedicated space on your desk. For each of the Challenges that you notice, brainstorm different ways that you might be able to overcome those particular challenges or problems and write those ideas down on the Solutions side of the page.

Fill out one of these assessment forms for each of the individual spaces in your office—one for your desktop; one for the information living on your computer; one for your storage closet or your bookshelf; and so on. Fill out enough of these forms so that you’ve addressed all of the spaces in your office that are currently causing you a problem. No challenge is too large or too small—list them all.

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