Wasted time amounts to wasted dollars. Brother International Corp.’s “P-touch Means Business,” survey reveals that an estimated 76 working hours per person each year are lost as a result of disorganization in the workplace.
As a professional organizer I believe the key to maintaining an uncluttered desk is daily upkeep. Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to keep paperwork under control and your desk organized.
Minimize visual clutter by getting rid of what isn’t needed and filing the rest away. When you pick up a piece of paper, decide what you are going to do with it: Toss, File, or Act. Toss as much as possible. Use action files to hold papers for smaller tasks you plan to act on. Today many people work out of a home office, so it’s important to keep work files separate from home files.
Consider creating “easy-to-read” file labels. A label maker may be a good solution. Filing electronically eliminates paper altogether. Papers you frequently reference can be stored in easy-to-update 3-ring binders.
For an organized desk, place items you use often in a convenient location. Maximize your horizontal work space by using vertical space above the desk for shelves or calendars. Items you don’t use regularly can be stored nearby or donated if you don’t use them at all. Keep electronic cords out of sight.
If possible, face your computer away from the doorway. That way you won’t be interrupted by the flow of office traffic. Make a to-do list at the beginning of each day or the evening before. Schedule your time so the most important tasks get done first. That way, if you are interrupted, at least your most urgent tasks have been completed.
Imagine how quickly you will find things when you know where everything is and there is less to look through.
Once your office is decluttered, the necessary daily upkeep is up to you. Schedule time, once a day, to clear your desktop, review your schedule, and update your to-do list.
Read more tips about office organizing.