9 Tips to Declutter Your Work Space
Everyone’s workspace is an important factor in their productivity. Studies show that clutter is more than just unattractive – it’s actually ruining your focus. Find out how to home in on office tasks with a clear creative space while making the most of your time from home base.
By Katie Faulkner
1. Purge and Prioritize
All worthwhile organization projects begin with a purge. Take some time to clear all the papers on your desk, empty your drawers, go through your file folder, and even clean up your computer desktop and files. Sort office supplies, wipe out drawers, and trash anything you no longer need. Find a caddy for your drawer, make a few labels, and only return the essentials. Everything should have a designated space.
2. Establish a Personal Space
Inevitably, you will have personal belongings that you bring to work every day. From your keys and jacket to your lunch or coffee cup, have a designated space for all of your essential personal items as well.
3. Tidy Up
To keep the surface of your desk looking neat and non-distracting, set as many items out of sight as possible. Do you enjoy a fan when it gets hot? Put it away until you need it. Tether cords together before taping them out of the way. Store headphones, nonperishable snacks, and extra supplies in the cabinet or drawer. Stay away from sticky notes and tacked reminders to keep the clutter down.
4. Pick a Paper System
Pick a system that efficiently handles any paper that you absolutely must have hard copies of. Often, a two-tray system works best, with one tray designated for brand-new papers and the second for papers that have been reviewed but still need to be filed or put away. Organize your to-deal-with documents by importance, and hit the high priorities as soon as possible.
5. Digitize Your Documents
Scan your handouts, work from Google Drive, ask for emailed copies of meeting agendas, store documents on a cloud system – basically, reduce the amount of physical paper that you deal with daily to decrease overwhelming stacks of clutter. Use an online calendar and sync it to your phone to keep up with reminders, meetings, and notes for every specific event. You can even share this information with your co-workers.
6. Do a Daily Clean Sweep
Before you leave the office at the end of every day, take five minutes to put things in their place, and wipe your desk, phone, keyboard, and monitor. By wiping your desk down daily, not only will you be cutting down on germs, you’ll also start each morning with an organized workspace.
7. Tackle Tasks Right Away
If it can be completed in two minutes or less, do it right then. By dealing with tasks as soon as possible, and not putting them off, you’re saving needless clutter from accumulating on your desk.
8. Have a Handy Notepad
For the meeting memos and conversations that can’t go directly into your calendar or notes folder, have a small notepad to jot things down. At the first opportunity, transfer your handwritten notes to your digital system.
9. Do a Weekly Deep Clean
Once a week (Fridays are great so that each week starts fresh), do a deep clean of all the items on your desk. This is the day that any items that haven’t been dealt with yet must be addressed. Toss pens that don’t write, empty your trash can, reorganize your office supplies, and make sure everything is in its place before you head home for the weekend! HS