Keeping your office neat may seem like an insurmountable task, especially when juggling a hectic work schedule. But even the busiest among us can achieve a tidy workspace if approached with the correct method.
Mess Means Stress
Why keep a clean office? For one, it’ll help you get more done in less time. Science has shown that people experience a productivity boost when working in an uncluttered space.
With all the stress and worry that work can cause, the last thing you need is for your environment to be compounding it. Here’s some easy methods that you can use to begin the tidying process.
The first step is collect all the loose items in your office and go through them, one by one. The goal here is to throw away anything that you don’t need. You’ll be surprised by how much of the clutter in your work area are items that you don’t need to keep, such as old receipts, pens that no longer work and reminder notes for tasks you’ve already done.
For documents where it’s not so much the physical copy you need, but the information it contains, all you need is to store the document digitally. Use a scanner to save an image of the document on your computer. Barring that, you can even take a picture of it with your phone.
A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
Once you’ve disposed of everything you can in your office, now it’s time to organize the remaining items. Collect things into categories and decide where the best place to keep them is. Designate each drawer in your desk and filing cabinet as the home for one and only one category. For loose items that you use often, get containers in which to store them, such as keeping all writing utensils in a pen holder.
Keeping like items together and always in the same place is key to staying organized. Think of how long you can spend searching for a pad of paper and a pencil when you need to write something down quickly. Perhaps you might resort to hurriedly scribbling a note on the back of an envelope, which can make it difficult to find the information later. With an organized office, you can easily find your planner or to do list and get it sorted into the right place the first time.
Staying Organized Long-Term
After you’ve tidied, how do you keep it that way? One way is to come up with a schedule. You can set aside five minutes at the start and end of each work day to put away anything that you can in their proper place. Keep receptacles on your desk for incoming and outgoing files, and make sure to go through each one at the end of the day, throwing away outdated or completed material.
If you have a home office, you can try keeping the door closed when it’s not time to work in order to keep clutter from sneaking in on the off hours. If your office is part of another room and doesn’t have its own door, try installing a privacy curtain, translucent glass doors or even a big sliding door using barn doors to close off the area. Keeping your office separate from the rest of the house and only inhabiting it during work hours also ensures that you can write it off at tax time.
Now that your office is organized, you should find that the stress reducing properties of a neat environment make a significant difference to your standard work day. With proper maintenance, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing how hard it will be for things to get misplaced now. And with all the productivity improvements, you are sure to have increased success and profit in your professional life.