Organizing is fun and exciting for the same reason it is so challenging and exhausting: it requires you to make decisions. This is empowering, putting you back in charge of your space, stuff, and time, embracing your ability to decide what belongs (and what doesn’t). But all that deciding takes focus and attention, which can be tiring.

That’s why benchmarking is such a powerful skill for organizing.

Though generally used as a noun to mark a point of reference, I use “benchmarking” as a verb to describe what happens when you recognize and identify a decision-making pattern, and use that to streamline your processing of work.

When a task occurs regularly, articulate how you want to process that task and note that to yourself so that the NEXT time it happens, you remember your strategy. The key is to slow down enough to clearly notice and state your plan of action in the first place, then set up systems as needed and be consistent each time you encounter the task in the future.

Earlier this week a client set a benchmark for handling emails she receives that require her to download materials to import into a separate program. These come in randomly throughout the day, so she set up an email rule to shunt them to a specific folder and scheduled a standing appointment with herself weekly to process them as a batch.

What tasks can you set a benchmark for? Let me know.

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