So you want to get organized?
Whether you occupy the corner office, a cubicle, or a little nook at home as your office, maximizing your workspace – and your productivity – means organizing your information. Most people feel they are far too busy to get organized “right now,” that they should wait until they have more time on their hands. All organization really is asking and answering a few key questions. Investing as little as a few hours asking and answering these questions can get you quickly back on track at work and as a result in your personal life.
Here are ten steps to follow for a more efficient and tidy work space that you will love being more productive in:
1. Decide to get organized
Disorganization is a result of a whole bunch of unmade decisions and if you dive in without a full commitment and a plan, the potential for going right back to where you started is pretty high with a lot more time and energy being expended than was necessary.
2. Understand your work style
Do you like to have things tucked away or are you the type of person where out of sight means out of mind? Are you a paper person (need to touch and feel it?) or do you prefer going electronic as much as possible? It is easier to find a system that works around your habits than you having to work around a cookie cutter system.
3. Scan your space
Does you current work area reflect your style? What do you see that is working for you and what bothers you the most? How would you have it look and feel like in your ideal world?
4. Start at one end
To get more done in less time, start from one end of your space and systematically work your way across to the other end, making sure you touch everything in your way as you go.
5. Sort by category
As you touch an item, categorize it and gather it with others like it in one spot: newspapers, magazines, promo items, reports, TO-DOs, To-File, To-Read, office supplies, books, etc. “This focuses the decision-making process. The key here is not to stop and think about each item - just sort - discarding the obvious.
6. Ask questions
To help with the decision making process, ask yourself questions as you sort and purge: Is this still relevant to me and my business/my role? Do I have duplicate copies? Is the same document available online?
7. Purge by category
Now that you have all your information categorized, tackle them one at a time with the easiest first. Go through the stacks quickly discarding everything you don’t need and keeping what you do. Don’t stop to look at things you need to take action on, just keep purging and keep aside your TO-DO items for handling after the organizing process.
8. Organize by category
All that remains is what you actually want and need (is it 20% of what you started out with? J). Look at the space you have, figure out who else needs access to the information and then decide where best you want to find each type of information and “file” it. Your knowledge of your organizing style will come in handy here.
9. Position your equipment
There are silent stressors in and around your workspace that you may not even be aware of. Whether you are left or right handed will determine where on your desk your phone and computer equipment is placed. Moving things around will make all the difference in yours and your work space’s effectiveness.
At the end of each work day, use the last 10 to 15 mins to bring your space back to order ready for the next day. Coming into a fresh and clear work space the next day can have a huge impact on your mood and efficiency.
Everything we do is a system. When we run into trouble, the wrong system may be in place. Taking the time to put the right one in place for yourself can reap immediate and long-term rewards of more time, space, resources and money.