Organize Your Office In No Time, by Monica Ricci ISBN 0789732181

Reviewed by: Robert Boardman, October 2005
Published by: QUE Publishing
Requires: A messy office or workplace, bad office organizing habits
MSRP: US$16.95 CAN$22.95

Organize your office is part of the recent “... in no time” series from Que Publishing. The author, Monica Ricci, is a professional organizer who hosts some online forums and runs a business that helps people get organized. This is one of those books that are often bought on a whim because “getting organized” is something most of us want to do and few of us make time to do. Ricci attempts to teach a “fast, simple, easy” solution to office clutter.

The book contains five short sections plus a resource list. Each section focuses on a specific area. In the foreword Ricci encourages readers to select the material that is most important to them. The first section, Getting Started, should be read by anyone who uses this book. It helps each reader understand their own organizing style and it gives good suggestions about creating an office environment that will be easy to keep organized. Some of her suggestions can not always be put into practice. Those of us who are employees usually have little control over office furniture, carpet, paint color and the like. Many of us have no control over the location of furniture in our office spaces. Even so, her suggestions about the office environment are quite helpful and can be implemented relatively easily. There may be some cost, but the end result will be a more pleasing and healthier workplace.


The other sections: filing and filing systems, taming paper and electronic files, staying organized while traveling, are all well written. Ricci illustrates her suggestions with statistics at times. There are supporting graphics, step-by-step lists and other features which make reading this book pleasurable. Ricci points out alternatives for each suggestion whenever possible. As is pointed out in the first section, organizing an office can be a very personal matter—a matter of personal style. So Ricci has varied suggestions based on her own experience and on various personal styles. For example, PDAs are a possible solution to some organizing issues. However they are not always the right solution, and not always the solution that is right for any one person. She discusses their positive and negative impacts in terms of personal style, not in terms of the demands of a job. I like this approach. The best organizing solution is usually the one that works for the person involved, not just one that fits with corporate policy or specific technical requirements.

I have some disagreement with the subtitle of “fast, simple, easy”. Some of Ricci's ideas and suggestions are fast or simple or easy to put into practice. There is one page about organizing e-mail which could be implemented very quickly. However many of her suggestions require time and work in preparation and in implementation. Adding new storage shelves to an existing office and replacing an existing paper or electronic filing system, take time, effort and money. One of the big drawbacks to an organized office is that it takes discipline to stay organized. While I may want to be organized, I don't want to have to do the work to stay that way forever. Ricci seems to think being organized is enough of a reward. For many of us it is a constant effort.

She has a short paragraph about organizing a computer and discusses filing systems, backup, e-mail and contact management. While there are some important and valid points, the chapter is too short and too general to be of much practical use. It would have been better to suggest people contact their computer support staff at work, or an equivalent if self-employed. There are far too many choices to be covered in a few short pages in a relatively small book.

Ricci suggests various sources and resources throughout the book as well as in the closing Appendix. She takes care to mention both free or low cost options as well as more expensive ones. These resources are worth looking for.

This is a fairly thin, inexpensive book that could be surreptitiously slipped under a pile of papers on a colleague's disorganized desk. When discovered, the giver will be thanked many times. Getting organized may not be as fast, easy or simple as the cover suggests, but this book takes a positive approach, is easy to read and offers lots of guidance which will be of great benefit to anyone who wishes to get organized. Recommended.





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