Did you know that getting and staying organized saves time and makes you more productive? You may think that stack of papers on your desk is organized to your way of thinking, or that supplies in small piles everywhere and tangled cords aren’t a distraction, but all these messes add up to hours of searching, using your valuable time less efficiently. Let’s get started while we’re in a Spring-cleaning state of mind.
Before you start the small stuff, look at the big stuff. Your office should be clutter-free, and the best way to do that is to remove all non-necessities. Declutter with two boxes and a trash bag, asking yourself if each item is a necessity, a giveaway, or trash. Once you’ve cleaned everything out, it’s time to take on the small stuff.
Tackle that paper pile first: separate the papers in stacks according to subject, then use file folders to keep them organized, making sure you label the folder. Store the files in your desk file drawer or file cabinet. File your papers at the end of each work day and keep one to-do file on your desktop.
With all the wireless technology available, this may not be an issue, but cords and cables can get in your way, as well as be unattractive. Unplug everything, find where each cord leads, and label it with tape folded over each one with what it connects to written on it. Coil each one and wrap a thick rubber band around the coils.
Supplies should be separated and kept in organizing trays in a desk drawer but keep a few on hand in desktop containers. Get rid of supplies you never use, and don’t keep more than one extra package of each supply. Clean off your desk at the end of every workday for a clean slate the next morning.
When you start your computer, can you see your desktop wallpaper clearly? If not, you need to delete old, unused or outdated items, and create and use new folders much like you use actual file folders.
Don’t let emails build up–you could miss something important by having hundreds of unread emails. Every time you check your email, before opening anything, go down the list and delete all non-essential emails. Set a time each day to answer all your emails at once, instead of every time a new one comes in.
Sure, it may take a while to declutter your desk, get papers filed, and clean up your computer, but the time you’ll save will be worth it. Once you’ve organized your work items, add a few plants, some family photos or other artwork. Your office doesn’t need to be uninteresting, but it needs to be efficient and clean. Your productivity depends on it.