Does the image above reflect some of what you see when you look around your office or work space?
A cluttered desk can be a distraction, whether you are working from home or in an office setting. Research has proven that clutter and disorganization affects your creativity and productivity. So, unless you count yourself among the few individuals who claim they feel more creative when working in a messy environment, it's time to take action!
Create systems and routines that will keep your office space organized
1. Begin by sorting through the piles of papers and office supplies. Discard/shred/recycle anything you no longer need or use and create categories, grouping like items together. Look around and determine what you truly need. Chances are you won't need 3 coffee mugs filled with pens, markers, and pencils. Think of your desk as prime real estate! Only items crucial to your workday should live here.
2. Determine the best storage options for all items. Store rarely used items and office supplies out of sight, in a cabinet or drawer. Occasionally I use decorative boxes to store items on bookshelves in my client's offices. I also try to label everything as much as possible to help get used to the newly organized systems.
3. Purge your existing file cabinet and dispose of anything outdated. Next, ask yourself how you could improve upon the existing file system. Do you easily find what you are looking for? Create labels that will help you - not generic labels that are confusing to your way of thinking. For example: Would you look for your car insurance policy under Automobile or Insurance? Or do you file anything related to your car under "Honda", e.g.? There is no one right or wrong way to label, as long as you, your family members, or coworkers are all cued into the system.
4. Create an environment that is calming, yet will let your creative juices flow. Maximize your productivity and creativity by decorating your office in a way that brings you joy. Surround yourself with items and colors that inspire you, however, keep in mind that less is more!
5. Keep your desk free of clutter. Establish an in-box or a file rack to keep current projects and active files at your fingertips, yet neatly arranged. Here are two options to consider, depending on if you like to file or pile your papers. This file rack has additional storage for some of your frequently used items. Get into a routine and take a few minutes at the end of each workday to clear off the top of your desk. Put away any tools and files you used during the day. Unfinished projects get tucked into their folders and put away in your file rack.
An organized office isn't just pleasant to look at. Without the physical clutter you will think more clearly, concentrate on the project at hand, and feel more creative. What's more - you will have less stress looking for misplaced items and more time to concentrate on your work. If you live in the Rochester, NY area and would like some help with your office space please call or email me. If you live outside of the area I also offer virtual organizing or visit www.NAPO.net to find a professional organizer near you.