For most of us, more time is spent in our office than anywhere else. Yet this is the area that always seems to be the most hectic, cluttered, and unorganized. Throughout the course of a busy day it’s easy to put things off or set things aside for later, but often “later” never comes. If you are tired of feeling lost in your own workspace, try these 8 tips for a clutter free office to help simplify your life and help you be more comfortable in the place where you spend the majority of your day.
1. Have a Place for Everything
The piles of paper on your desk, the scattered folders, the memos; they all need a place to go. If you create designated areas for everything in your workspace, that alone will make a substantial difference. Start by creating labels and deciding where you want things to go. Folders should be always be labeled so you can find things easily. You can even place labels on shelves and filing cabinets so that cleaning up your desk is quick and easy—all you have to do is put things back in their designated spaces.
2. Don’t Procrastinate
“I’ll get to it later” are the magic words for clutter. It will begin with one pile of paperwork that you swear you’ll get back to and soon the entire top of your desk has disappeared. A good rule to follow: if it is going to take less than 5 minutes, just do it now. If you really are in a rush, make absolutely sure that you take care of it before you go home for the day; you will thank yourself later.
3. Establish a Routine
Many problems can be completely avoided by establishing and sticking to a routine. If the first thing you do in the morning is put away things that you didn’t the day before, you will never have to worry about clutter. Designating times to sort through mail, throw things away, respond to memos, and even take out the trash will not only solve your clutter problem but will make you much more efficient.
4. Develop a Filing System That Works for You
There is no universal system of filing that works for every person in every office. There are only two rules to follow when it comes to your own; make sure you actually have one, and make sure it works for you. You can choose to file by date, alphabetically, by type, or even color coding works for many people. You may also need more than one system depending on your needs—just make sure it is simple for you to follow so that you actually use it.
5. Consider Going Paperless
Not only is this a greener option, it significantly reduces clutter. You can’t have a desk covered in paperwork if there is no paper. With everything going digital nowadays, it is a perfectly reasonable option to eliminate paper copies altogether. Instead of a filing cabinet, everything can be organized in files on your desktop. So long as you set up a system in your computer to keep track of everything and maintain organization, there is no need for all the mess and clutter of stacks of paperwork.
6. If You Don’t Need It, Toss It
If there are things on your desk or anywhere else in your office that you do not need, throw them away. You are unnecessarily cluttering up your workspace by hanging onto things that are unimportant. It’s incredible what a difference there is after simply going through and throwing things out. Make a habit of routinely cleaning through your drawers and file organizers; you’d be surprised at how quickly junk accumulates. By eliminating the trash you are making things much simpler for yourself and creating room for more important things.
7. Avoid Visual Distractions
While it’s always nice to have family photos, paintings from the kids, and other memorabilia on our desks, it’s also wise to keep them to a minimum. After awhile, our personal items start taking up more space than we intended and we find ourselves with nowhere to put actual work-related items. A couple of pictures are wonderful to have but too many will only cause distraction and chaos. Rather than allowing yourself to be distracted by all the mementos on your desk, use the space to complete work quickly so that you can get home to all the smiling faces in your photos.
8. Use the Break Room
Do yourself a big favor and avoid using your desk as a lunch table. More than likely when you eat lunch at your desk you have to move things aside to make room. Now you have made a giant pile of unorganized paperwork that you will probably put off since it is no longer right in front of you. Your workspace also stays much more clean and sanitary if you avoid eating at it. Keep your desk for work only and utilize the break room when it’s time to eat. It also gives you the chance to get away from everything you’ve been working on and take some time to regroup and prepare before heading back in to finish.
These 8 tips for a clutter free office are a great guide to help you change your habits and makeover your office space. Take time to implement them this week and see if you can see a difference in how efficiently you work. What is your favorite way to deal with clutter in your office?
Top photo credit: data.whicdn.com