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Get things in order: organize the clutter on your desk.

Does the inbox on your desk look like a pack rat's nest? D pangs of separation anxiety hit at the thought of throwing away even a memo? Fear not, many find managing paperwork or clutter among the top 10 time-consuming and dreaded workplace activities.

"When messages, mail, client files and new assignments all end up in a jumble on your desk, problems arise," says Odette Pollar, president of Time Management Systems, an Oakland, California-based management training consulting firm. "People collect and pile junk because they don't want to forget things. But the clutter becomes emotionally draining, affecting your retrieval and decision-making skills and hampering your ability to do a good job."

Even if you can be quite efficient while wallowing in a sea of paper and office bric-a-brac, consider the image you send to your clients and colleagues. A messy workspace connotes a lack of self-respect and gives the impression that you don't know what you're doing, adds Pollar.

To get organized for the new year, Pollar offers the following solutions in her book, Organizing Your Workspace: A Guide to Personal Productivity (Crisp Publishing, National Book Network Inc., $9.95; 800-462-6420): * Think in terms of "one" - clear one drawer, one file, one bookshelf at a time. Don't try to do everything at the same time. When you get tired, stop and come back later. * Start at the top of a pile and work your way down. If you touch something, make a decision. Ask yourself, In which file does it go specifically? and What is my next step? * Remove things you don't use frequently such as electric pencil sharpeners, paperweights, awards and the matching pen-and-pencil set you got for Christmas ... three years ago. * Don't allow newspapers and magazine to mount up; cut out the articles you want and develop a clip file. * Place like things together. Put all personal effects in one drawer, arrange telephone lists alphabetically and organize meeting records chronologically Store catalogs and vendor information by subject and label, label, label! * Don't keep things just because they are interesting. Throw out duplicates, keeping just one copy. Hold on to items that would be hard to replace, or those required by law or integral to a project or client file. * Part with some of your memorabilia and family photos. You'll be surprised how much more workspace you'll have. * Set goals. For example, devote 20 minutes each day to opening mail and emptying your inbox. * While cleaning, think of the environment and recycle.



Q I've sent my resume to a number of executive recruiters. Why have I not received a response?

A The thing to remember is that executive search firms work for companies, not job candidates. Their focus is to find a match for that company's specific employment needs.

Time is money. With commissions averaging 20%-331/3% of a candidate's annual salary, recruiters, unfortunately, don't have much time to correspond with individuals who lack the skills they seek. While some firms do acknowledge the receipt of unsolicited resumes, must do not, says Armentha "Mike" Cruise-Mills, president of the Black Human Resources Network in Silver, Maryland.

Generally, when a resume is received, information such as industry, education, special qualifications, salary requirements and geographical preferences is entered into a database. Some firms keep the data on file for up to a year; others toss it if you don't qualify for any of their positions.

Some tips: Use a functional resume, which emphasizes your skills, if you want to go out of your field, say, from sales to accounting. Use a chronological resume, which emphasizes your work history, if you want to stay in your field. Solicit search firms that service the industry or career you're interest in. It can save you a lot of time, money - and dashed hopes.
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Title Annotation:Odette Pollar's 'Organizing Your Workspace: A Guide to Personal Productivity' may help
Author:Hayes, Cassandra
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Column
Date:Jan 1, 1997
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