If you left your office in disarray before the holidays, you’re probably not the only one. However, a cluttered workspace can hinder your productivity. As you ease back into your regular work routine, take an hour to apply our tips to help you clear out, clean up and create space for a new year. It’s time for office organizing 101.
1. Purge your papers
As you work to tame the paper piles, be sure to think through how you can reduce the amount of paper you generate in the first place. After all, we do live in the digital age. Ask yourself: Do I need to print emails? Can I scan documents and receipts instead of keeping hard copies? While you are at it, remember to shred any documents that contain sensitive information
2. Digitize your filing system
Consider setting up a new filing system that is predominantly stored electronically and in the cloud. Here are some ideas for organizing a digital filing system:
Create a “Meeting” folder: This is where you can keep notes about items to discuss, reports and other tasks to delegate.
Create a “Work In Progress (WIP)” folder: This is where you can file project documentation and notes on items that are not yet completed. This will help you corral the information from your email and eliminate the need to have hard copy files.
Add a “Reading” folder: Designate a file for print articles and one for digital documents that you don’t want to miss and plan to read in the near future.
Archive your files: While it’s tempting to keep completed project files in your regular flow of active files, it’s not the best strategy. This creates clutter and interferes with the sense of closure that comes from finished work. Instead, archive and store completed projects in the cloud.
3. Work systematically
The thought of organizing a cluttered space can be overwhelming. The best approach is a methodical one. Start by clearing one area at a time. Identify the items you need, what you don’t use, and what you can eliminate by donating, recycling or disposing of it.
4. Find a place for what is left
Every item that remains should have a place and a function. Approach this task in a structured manner. Designate work zones in your office based on what kind of activity occurs. Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within easy reach. Items that you rarely use can be stored or put away.
As you can see, organizing your office doesn’t have to overwhelm you. It can be accomplished little by little. And when you maintain your newly decluttered space, you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient and energized your workspace will make you feel.