Is your monitor framed with post-it reminders? Is your desktop hidden by papers, folders and coffee mugs? If yes, then you may find yourself with a recipe for unproductivity. Most people prioritise completing their daily work assignments over investing time in organising their workspace. But, if you really knew how disorganisation can affect you while working, you’d reconsider. As well as wasting time, disorganisation leaves a bad impression on your colleagues (Goudreau, 2012). Organising your workspace does not only mean investing in storage cabinets for office use, or rearranging and moving piles of documents occasionally. You need to adopt ways that can help you not only create an organised workspace but which also contribute towards a productive working environment. The following are a few simple ways that can help you save time, eliminate the risk of misplacing items and avoid the mental burden of working in a disorganised office.
Start with the purge
De-clutter, empty and get rid of the items you do not use or want. Look around. Which items haven’t you used in a while? Take one area at a time. Start with your desk. Do you use all the pens and markers in your pen pot? If they do not work, toss them in the bin. Remember, if you haven’t used an item over 3 months, you probably won’t use it at all.
Gather and redistribute
If your workstation is covered with coffee mugs, files, folders, drawings, etc., it is time you put everything in its designated place. For example, all of your drawings, plans or maps, should go in a drawing cabinet, your personal belongings in your locker, etc. This helps ensure your workspace is not covered with unnecessary clutter and reduces the risk of misplacing items or important materials.
Decide what you need in close proximity
Just as there are items in your workplace that you do not use at all, there might be equipment and supplies that you require frequently. For example, a notepad, pen, printer, etc. Make sure you position these items so that they are within easy reach.
Revise your filing system
Although most documents these days are stored virtually, you’re sure to still have some files lying in your cabinet. If you just keep tossing the files inside a storage cupboard without any proper order, you are likely to lose important documents. Hence, consider adopting a filing system. For instance, create different folders for different tasks. You could place all your files that include data about your clients, their performance, etc. in the client folder. If you are storing any sensitive information, make sure you lock these units and keep your keys secure in a key cabinet. Next time you need a file, you’ll know which folder to look for.
Do a little every week
Do not make de-cluttering your desk, returning supplies and equipment to their designated place or revising your filing system a one-time thing. This will lead to the same cluttered workspace you had before you started. Before you head off for a relaxing weekend, take some time out and tidy up anything left lying around during the week.
The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an organised workspace will also reflect on your work. Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles around, in a de-cluttered space, you could actually be working.