We all like to feel we are in control – at least of ourselves and our lives. We want the rooms of our home to be furnished and decorated as we like; we want to buy the clothes and other personal items we like.
And, when we spend eight hours a day in our workspace, we ought to want to be in control of it too.
Getting control of our workspaces, no matter how small or large, takes away distractions. And when distractions are taken away, we can be more productive.
It’s important to find ways that will keep your workspace organized. It’s one of the ways you can discover how to be more productive. And here are six tips that will help you do just that.
#1. Purge, Purge, Purge
Most of us do a lot of purging at home. We clean out our closets, basements, storage closets and garages. We feel so much better when that is done – we have more control and we can find what we need when we need it.
The same is true of our workspaces. They must be de-cluttered regularly. And here’s how you can do it in a systematic way.
Go by sections, just like you would do in your basement. Get rid of anything unnecessary – furniture, old files that you have not looked at in perhaps years, etc.
Group those things that you need to keep into categories. Then you can go through those categories once you have been through all sections and make decisions about what to keep and what to pitch.
#2 Consider Containers and Boxes
You may have paper files that must be kept, but are certainly not documents that you access often. Here is a rule as you clean out your closet: If you have not worn it in an entire year, then it goes. As you go through those paper files, use the same rule.
It can go into a container or a box; files can be categorized and color coded based upon subject and year. Then they can be found if ever needed again.
#3 Divide Out the Space
Most workspaces have different functions. Think about your garage for a minute. You have a section devoted to lawn and garden; you have a section devoted to tools. The same holds true for your office.
You have a computer area – your hardware, manuals, possibly disks, supplies, a desk and chair. All of this should be in a section of its own.
You should then have another workspace that is not related to your computer. This is an area where you may do your thinking and planning. It may be a chair, table and lamp; it may be your main desk space, separate from your computer station.
The value of dividing your space is partially psychological.
When you leave your computer station for another space, you will change the focus of your thoughts as well.
#4 Don’t Forget De-Cluttering Your Computer and Laptop
Take a look at all of the files, folders, pictures, and other debris on your screen. You have some options for de-cluttering and organizing this space too.
- Categorize files into folders – put them in the cloud – Google Docs is a great tool.
- Delete what you don’t need
- Go into your recycle bin and delete the garbage you no longer need.
- Clear out your browsing history and cookies
Your device will run faster; you screen will be sleek and clean; you will feel better about turning on your devices; and your office productivity may really improve.
#5 Give Yourself Some Inspiration
This is often given as a piece of career advice. Having a well-organized, attractive workspace is psychologically pleasing and lets you find what you need. But sometimes, some inspirational touches can make changes that improve work productivity too.
Consider creating a “wall of inspiration” with posters and quotes that you love.
#6 Desk Clutter
It’s easy to let stuff accumulate on a desk. Pens, markers, legal pads, post-it notes, stacks of files, clips, pins, and more. Then, there is those three coffee cups when you only need one at a time. Pictures of family and friends are great to have, but do they take up too much space.
How about on a wall? And those books and magazines? How about a rack or bookshelf above your desk?
A trip to an office supply store will result in inexpensive containers and trays and a desk-top file holder too.
Desk drawers are good places for all of those little supplies. When you get those small containers and trays, and get all of your stuff in them, organize a desk drawer to hold them all. All of a sudden, you have actual clear desk space.
The Exceptions to the Rule
There are actually some creatives who enjoy clutter and find themselves more productive when their workspace is not clean and neat.
Even Lee Iacocca, automobile executive, admitted that he was more productive with a cluttered office.
Ultimately, you have to find the physical work environment that works best for you. Experiment a bit.
One way to stay productive is by keeping your desk organized. Organize everything from your stationeries, laptop, files, and trays. This is where some of your plastic and storage organizers come into play.
You don’t need an expensive stationery tray to organize your pens. Simply beautify those storage boxes (both big and small) and use them to your advantage.
| About the Guest Author:
Veronica Wright is Co-Founder of Resumes Centre – Career Coach and is a Professional Writer.