Between the meetings, the conference calls, the paperwork and everything else that comes with a desk job, who has time to keep their office clean and organized? Although the task may seem daunting, maintaining a clean, clutter-free workspace can help you stay more focused and can also help keep stress at bay while on the job. Take a look at these handy tips and tricks that will help you stay more organized with minimal effort.
1. Designate a place for everything. It may seem pretty basic, but it’s a crucial step toward organizing your office and keeping it organized—pick a place to put everything! Return items to their designated drawer or cabinet as soon as you’re done using them rather than letting paperwork and office supplies pile up on your desktop. A good practice is to only keep supplies at your desk that you need to do your job on a regular basis. Other supplies that you may not use as often should be stored elsewhere for access only when needed.
2. File your paperwork. Just like your supplies, paperwork should only be kept on your desktop if it is needed for specific projects that you’re working on that day. Following this rule will help you stay in control of your space and will also keep all those papers from becoming a serious headache. Create a storage system that will work for you and the amount of physical files that you’re working with, whether that be in the form of filing cabinets, desktop organizers or a bookshelf.
3. Cut down on paper use when possible. Cutting down on the amount of paper you use will help you stay significantly more organized. Consider using a program such as Microsoft One Note to gather your ideas rather than sticking Post-Its all over the place. You can also start typing meeting notes on a laptop rather than wasting notebook paper. The fewer pieces of paper you have floating about your work space the better!
4. Complete quick tasks immediately. If you come across small items in your workspace that need to be cleaned or put away, then take care of them as soon as you notice them. Cleaning up these little things immediately will help you stay on top of them so that they never become a major cause for concern.
5. Clean up your inbox. Make sure you organize more than just your desktop! Keeping too many old emails can overwhelm, and it can slow down your computer too. Be sure to: respond to urgent emails right away; categorize important emails into appropriately named subfolders; and immediately delete emails that are not needed.
6. Implement dumpster days. Here at OfficeFurniture.com, we participate in quarterly “dumpster days” in which we set up large garbage cans at the ends of our cubicle rows. This encourages our employees to clean out their desk spaces and purge any papers, supplies or unneeded junk in order to make way for more important items. By providing your employees with an easy outlet for disposing of old materials, you’ll greatly increase the chances of creating a more organized office overall.
7. Manage your time. Organizing your time is just as important as organizing the physical items in your office. Because organizing your workspace cannot always be made a priority, it’s best to use your down time wisely. Were you put on hold during a conference call? Tidy up your inbox. Did you get to work earlier than normal? Spruce up your supply drawer. Purposely arriving to work early or staying late is actually a great idea. Because it’s easier to stay on task when no one else is around, try setting aside private time for organizational purposes when you know you won’t be bothered.
8. Set reachable goals. Before you begin your new year’s resolution of maintaining a more organized workspace, be sure to set yourself up for success by making reachable goals. In other words, don’t try to take on too much at once. Do a little at a time at a pace that’s comfortable for you, and you’ll be able to get organized much more quickly. Maybe one day you’ll want to file away all of the paperwork on your desk and the next day you might choose to alphabetize the books on your bookshelf. Whatever your process may be, just take it one step at a time.
9. Organize every day. Although it’s beneficial to take things slowly, it’s equally as important to keep up with your organizational efforts on a daily basis. One easy way to do this is to perform a quick pick up at the beginning or the end of each day. Scan your workspace and take care of any loose ends. From keeping your sweater in the wardrobe instead of on your chair to putting pens and pencils in their designated drawer, every little bit helps. Once you keep up with these little work habits on a regular basis, you will quickly come to find that they will become second nature.
10. Create a personalized work space that you love. Not only will personalizing your space fuel you to be more productive, but it will also inspire you to stay more organized. The more you enjoy the space, the more pride you will take in keeping it clean, making organizational efforts seem like less of a chore and more of a pleasure.