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Starting points

Organizational inertia is that “stuck” feeling most people get when they think about an organizational task they have yet to do, such as cleaning out a messy closet. Until you start, the mere thought of the energy and time required to deal with a task is paralyzing. So you procrastinate.

Happily, breaking through to get momentum working in your favor is actually easier than you might think. All you need is five minutes.

Here are a few thought starters for you.

Dejunk a drawer. Tackle a junk drawer. If you haven’t touched an item in it within 12 months, don’t let it paralyze you. Simply get rid of it or recycle it.

Get your priorities straight. Write down your top priorities for the day or week ahead and schedule them. A great way to get in the five-minute habit of doing this is to sit down with a structured notepad each morning before you open your computer to check emails.

Toss inkless pens. There’s nothing more annoying then hunting for a pen only to find that every one in your drawer has long since run out of ink. Test all the pens in your bag or on your desk. If you find a pen that has no ink, toss it.

Reduce your mail pile. Toss or recycle your junk mail. All in, it takes probably two minutes to cycle through a stack while standing over the recycle bin.

– Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore,