Whether you’re working at the kitchen table in your home, or you’re logging your work hours in a cubicle, staying organized can be a big challenge. The aesthetics of a messy, cluttered desk aren’t ideal for any office environment, but the real issue is the unnecessary time and energy you have to spend looking for important documents or handy office tools – and how that wasted time can affect your productivity. Here are a few tips to keep your workspace organized.
- Get Rid of Old Papers
Chances are many of those papers piled high on your desk aren’t of any value to you. As you begin to sort through your stack of papers, begin asking yourself: Do I need this? Why? Where will I look for it when I need it? Then, create a filing system that best fits your needs, and make a point to file future printouts as they are created to keep the problem from reoccurring. Remember to think before you print. Ask yourself: Do I really need to print that file, or can it survive in binary code?
- Separate Business and Pleasure
Regardless of where you do the bulk of your work, it’s important to keep distractions at bay. Keep a home office free of distraction by having a designated mail location away from your office space, and encouraging family members to keep the area free of toys, tech gadgets, and anything else that might invite lost time and inefficiency to sneak into your day. For office employees, cell phones and smart phones can be a big productivity-killer. Keep your phone in a designated location, and check it during breaks – instead of every time you hear the text message chime.
- Keep Supplies and Often-Used Items Separate
Daily-use items that you’ll likely need throughout the course of a day, like your laptop, pens, planner, and Post-It Notes, all deserve a spot on your desk. Other items, such as tape, stapler, paper clips, and envelopes, should be neatly stored inside your desk. This keeps less-frequently-used items from taking up valuable desk real estate, but ensures that they are easily accessible.
- Organize Your Computer
When your favorite desktop background starts getting obscured with icons, it’s time to de-clutter your virtual desktop. File away documents that you’ll need again, and send everything else off to the virtual recycle bin. Not only will you have a much more attractive looking desktop screen, but you will save countless hours searching for your important documents.
- Slow Down
One of the biggest pitfalls to organization is finding the time. Invest the time to properly organize your space, so files, supplies, and other items are in an intuitive, easy-to-find place. Once you’ve established a system that works for you, stick to it! Spending a few seconds to return items to a designated spot will help you save lots of time in the long run.
Keeping your home office clutter free will not only help you stay sane, but more importantly, keep your productivity level high. Got a great organization tip to share? Let us know in the comments.