While the common perception of cluttered desks and workspaces are an indicator of creativity (because all creative people somehow tend to be messy), the truth is that the mess should be treated as something you need to clean up.
Clutter never leaves a good impression anyway, and it interferes with your productivity – in fact, 90% of business owners think that an organized desk or office results in increased productivity. However, 75% of them wish that their offices were more organized.
Aside from the questions you need to ask when renovating your office, there are very easy ways to get rid of the mess that is present on your work desk and office – permanently.
These methods are so simple, you might wonder why you did not start sooner; and all of this advice comes from organizing experts who are knowledgeable in the task of increasing office productivity. Read on for some of these methods.
Think of the drawers in terms of a hierarchy
All the most important drawers need to be the closest to you and your dominant hand – the same principle applies for the home, as well as the office organization.
Always arrange the tools that are foundational to your job in the top drawer (or Tier 1), such as valuable Tier 1 stationery supplies like index cards, pens, and paper, and this will help in easier retrieval any time you need them.
One point to note here though – ensure you are very selective about the items you place in your closest drawer. If all tools are important to you, then nothing really is.
Only maintain the items you require
In a tray, box, or holder, keep all the office tools you need the most, and place it on your desk – like the first point, the aim is to keep the most important items closest to you.
If you are not sure what is most important, keep the items on your desk in a box, then track the most used ones for a week to give you a better idea of what to keep and what to let go.
This will ultimately let you know your most essential supply needs, and the tools or supplies you can keep away in your closet or drawers.
Remove the in/out box
While these boxes were a staple of older office arrangements, they ultimately represented a problem: they created neat piles on your workspace.
That leads to a host of problems, including the misplacement of files and losing important documents and small supplies like pens, because the files obscure everything in sight.
Instead of the annoying in/out box, consider replacing it with file holders that are vertically arranged. These will sit on the desk and keep papers and important documents in a vertical format.
Since it is in this arrangement, you can see the specific files on the back – which means you can use it as a temporary storage to keep papers that you want to file away later or eventually want to keep on your desk.
Purge the papers on a regular basis
Here is a surprising statistic: you will only look once at 80% of what you own, and you will never look at it or seek it out again. That means that when you purge the workspace of these items and retain 20%, you ultimately free up your workspace – by a very large margin.
This may look like a herculean task, but you can start by sorting through the papers on your desk. When you decide to file, you can use two systems: current, and archive.
The current files include reference material, warranties, receipts, client information, and instruction manuals; while archive files are the tax and legal papers. These must be kept separate, then get rid of everything else that you have never needed in the last 2 years.
If you are dealing with legal and tax documents though, keep them for a maximum of 7 years.
Use a color cue system
It can be challenging to maintain work and home paperwork if you work from home, so you can use a file color scheme for work and another color scheme for home files to eliminate confusion and make reference easier.
Using these principles to organizing your files will make it easier to stay organized, clean up your workspace, and increase your long term productivity.