Tips for Organizing Your Office
You may think that you don’t have time to organize your office, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider. Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer. A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.
Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an ongoing project, instead of a massive assault. So, if you’re ready to get started, the following tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.
- Purge your office – De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while? Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc. Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.
- Gather and redistribute – Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.
- Establish work “zones” – Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.) Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.
- Close proximity – Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.
- Get a good labeler – Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.
- Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
- Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
- Clear off your desk – Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.
- Organize your desktop – Now that you’ve streamlined you desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it. Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.
- Organize your drawers – Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc. Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.