An organized office is the gateway to more productivity. As in any space, the key is clear areas to work, easy access to what’s most important to use and good routines to keep your space organized.
Start with your desk
- Everyone needs a good space to work. Your “desk” may be stationary or mobile.
- Clear what’s on your desk and put it in a box. Add back in only the tools you use every day to the desk top.
- Gather papers together in an “unprocessed” wall pocket near the door of your office. Drop items in there that have not been reviewed or triaged.
- Clear your computer or device desk top by moving documents to the document folder. Start by creating folders to house the documents. Do this 15 minutes at a time and you will feel accomplished as your desk top looks clearer and cleaner.
- Not enough space on your desk? Add a file cart to store papers and access these quickly.
Move to the desk drawers
Drawers are not to just stuff away desk top clutter.
- Designate uses for each drawer. Top middle or top right drawer works best for immediate access items, such as less frequent tools or checkbooks. Right file drawer can be set up for frequently accessed resources. Left file drawer can be your “personal” file drawer for snacks, lotions, or extra items.
- Desk drawers can easily become cluttered. Add organizing trays to your drawers to see exactly where items go. A pencil tray or shallow baskets help you organized these.
- Keep the knee space clear under your desk. It’s easy to accumulate stuff that needs to go home. Make a point of taking home items every Friday to keep clutter away.
Resources and bookshelves
Think vertical and think access for your bookshelves.
- What resources do you want to keep close and access quickly? That’s what belongs on your bookshelves. Your resources can be stored in attractive, consistent appearance notebooks with labels on the spine.
- Use the top shelf for knickknacks and photos. Your desk stays clear and you have a space to host family and memorable keepsakes and awards.
- Remember that on organized bookshelves all books are vertical or staged in a decorative array. An overpacked bookshelf means it’s time to cull out what is not useful.
Organizing inside your computer is critical to your productivity.
- Organizing your email by general topics. Think about the areas of your work and create subfolders in your inbox to save these. Areas might be clients, vendors, or resources. These big categories save you time filing.
- Set specific times to work your email. Three times a day is sufficient to work through email. Add tasks and project to a task list to keep from cluttering your inbox.
The word strikes horror, fear, and overwhelming feelings. Paper work takes a plan.
- Have a basket, wall pocket or slot for unprocessed papers. It’s the spot where paper comes as it enters the office. Having this spot keeps the paper in one area.
- Be deliberate and brutal about eliminating paper. Have a recycle and shred zone in your office.
- A To Be Filed spot helps you keep control of paper. This slot is a drop area to keep papers until you file. When the basket or slot is full, it’s time to file (which should be quarterly.)
- Paper work builds up quickly. A weekly admin time for one hour helps you keep on top of paper.
Keep your organizing success by keeping your office organized.
- Each evening set a timer to remind you it’s time to close up shop. Remember that time when a shop keeper turned the open sign to closed and took the money from the till to the safe? That’s what we all need to end our day. Make a list of your closing activities to get items back to their slots.
- Set time weekly to bring items back home to their original spots.
- After your annual strategic planning or at the new year, evaluate what is in your office and if it serves your purposes this year.
Need help with your office? Call me!