Are you comfortable in your office? Is it free of clutter that slows work and decreases productivity? If you can’t give an honest “yes” to these questions, it’s time to re-imagine, reorganize and rejuvenate your workspace. Here are 13 tips for better organization in the office.
Remove Everything From Your Desk : Give yourself a completely clean slate by removing all pens, post-its, paperclips, folders, staples, scissors and coffee mugs from your desk. Only add items back when you actually need them. After a week or so, you should have a neat, functional desk stripped of all the useless clutter that used to cover it.
Create A Workflow : Stack incoming items to your left. Deal with them in the middle. Put them on the right when they’re ready to be shipped out elsewhere. This kind of workflow can turn even a hopelessly disorganized desk into an efficient assembly line for productive days at the office.
Increase Your Space : You don’t need a huge corner office to create the illusion of space. You can free up plenty of floor room just by hanging supply baskets or stacking file cabinets on top of one another. You might also consider elevating your desk so you can store things in the space underneath.
Give Everything A Place : Everything in your office should have a designated spot. You might always line up your pens on the left side of your desk, or you can officially camp all of your printer supplies in the upper right drawer. This system will keep you organized in addition to preventing three-hour hunts for wayward supplies.
Organize Your Cords : If the snarled mess of cables underneath your desk is approaching DEFCON 1, it’s time to take back control of your electronics. Sort them out one by one, and don’t leave anything tangled. Use colored twist ties to distinguish the printer cord from the phone charger. You can even pin them into place with tape if you’re tired of kneeing them as you work.
Utilize Your Vertical Space : If nothing is hanging on your wall except for that old watercolor you inherited, you’re missing out on prime opportunities for storage and organization. Think about pegboards to organize some of your more basic supplies. Use magnets on the side of your metal desk or file cabinets to hold notes and memos.
Limit Your Personal Items : A few trinkets are acceptable. An entire wall of photos, birthday cards and old thank you notes is pushing it. A good rule of thumb is to limit your personal items to one “thing” per category. For example, you can have one framed photo, one stress relief instrument and one Nerf basketball hoop.
Divide Your Space Into Zones : Put multiple chairs in your office so you can divide the area into separate workspaces. Your desk can be for reading, printing and computing; the corner near the file cabinets can be for filing and archiving; the space around your bookshelf can serve as your research area.
Open The Windows : This is a useful psychological trick that will keep you focused on your work by reminding you of the passage of time. You’re less likely to procrastinate or get distracted by unimportant things when you can watch the progress of the sun in the sky.
Follow the Five-minute Rule : In addition to getting your office clean, you should also focus on keeping it clean. Use the five-minute rule when it comes to daily tasks or cleanup: If it can be accomplished in five minutes or less, do it immediately instead of putting it off.
Give Away Extras : When your bookshelf is full, offer one of your old tomes to a co-worker. When your supply drawer is overflowing with goodies, ask around and see if anyone needs a new box of staples. This will keep you from becoming used to excess and inadvertently encouraging clutter.
Establish A Maintenance Routine : You should have a short, one- to two-minute cleanup routine before turning off the lights and leaving the office every evening. This will ensure that messes never have the chance to form and dust never has the means to accumulate. Even a quick wipedown is better than nothing.
Know When to Stop : Don’t let office organization become a hindrance to your overall productivity. It’s very easy to get so carried away that you forget your original objective: to have a cleaner, more organized workspace so you can get things done.
These are just 13 clean office tricks for creating and maintaining a space optimized for efficiency. If you’re tired of messes, eyesores and general distractions, use these tips to transform your office into something better.