You may think you don’t have time to organize your office, but in reality you don’t have time not to. It’s proven that higher productivity and less wasted time go hand-in-hand with a well organized office. So, stop dragging your feet and put aside some time to get your work space organized and more efficient.
You may need a jump-start at first to get your office space back on track, but it’s important to look at your office organizing as an ongoing project instead of a massive one-time project. It’s better to do things in baby steps versus a huge grueling jump. It’s more likely you?ll do the organizing work that is necessary if you are not overwhelmed by it. Once you get in the daily organizing habit, you?ll never go back to the chaos your office space once was.
This first step is to de-clutter. There are bound to be things on top of your desk, random papers lying around, junk in your office desk drawers, etc. that you just don’t need. A good tip is, if you have not used it in months, take it out! You may even consider going mostly paperless to cut down on the paper clutter. Go through each file to review for duplicates and documents that can be stored digitally instead.
In every office, there should be a communal office supply closet. If you don’t have one, get one started. Instead of keeping supplies in your office, a stack of pens, paper reams, a bag of paperclips for example, store them in the office’s supply closet. Also, make use of different size containers to organize the office supplies in. Each supply should be easy to see and easy to retrieve.
Establish work zones in your office space. Keep items you use on a regular basis on your office desk for easy reach. For occasional tasks, such as filing for example, make sure the proper equipment and supplies are kept in that work zone, such as filing folders, a hole punch, a label maker, etc. Another good tip is to have a catch it zone. This space is designed to catch important documents, store your personal items like your jacket or purse, etc. It’s helpful to have a shelf, some hooks, a box to place important items in like outgoing mail, etc. in the catch it zone.
Get an easy to use labeler for you files, shelves, bins, baskets, etc. to remind you where things go. You can even label your electronic cords. Also, if a co-workers needs to put something away in your space, they?ll know exactly where to put it.
Organizing your filing drawers and folders is essential. These organizing tips can also apply to electronic folders located on your computer desktop and e-mail folders.
Instead of letting paper stack up on your desk or elsewhere, have a ‘to file? tray or folder. Get in the habit of filing things away at least once a week that you?ll take out of the ‘to file? folder.
WOR means Waiting on Response. Much of the clutter we don’t know what to do with, is paperwork/e-mails that are waiting on a response before we can move forward. Keep these items in a folder. You can review them daily/weekly (at an appointed time) to remind you of any follow-up that is needed.
Put meeting notes, agendas, ideas, reports etc. in a meeting folder. Therefore, you?ll always be right on task for every meeting.
Put all non-urgent reading materials in this folder. When you get a breather, you can reach in the folder and catch up on some of the materials.
Having a folder for all your ongoing projects is very helpful. You can keep notes, strategies, tasks, etc in each folder according to the project.
It’s helpful to color-code files according to categories. For example, use green labels or folders for financial, red labels or folders for medical, etc. This way, your eyes go directly to what you are looking for in the file drawer.
It’s good to have a dry erase board in your personal office space as well as in the office meeting room space. It’s one thing to have a well-organized office space, but if your mind is jumbled, it?ll do you no good. Writing down daily tasks, weekly tasks, a project’s process map, etc. will help keep you right on track. Once a task is complete, you can erase it and add a new one. Place the board somewhere where you can see it, even while sitting at your office desk.