Life is crazy and it is easy to let chaos turn that part of your brain which keeps everything in order off. In an instant your office can go from being a pristine example of immaculate tidiness to a disaster zone of uncontrolled disarray. Some claim that they work better with a mess and that they have their own “system” beneath the piles of paper and tools, but to other people clutter is simply just clutter. The truth of the matter is people tend to feel more productive when they have a sense organization. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Professional Organizers, 91% of the response group thought that they could be more productive at work if they felt organized. But what impact does disorganization have on a work? 50% of a worker’s time—estimated by one of the “Big Four” auditing firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers—is spent looking for misplaced materials due to disorganization. These statistics show that organization does matter! When you take the time to sort through the disorder it not only cleans up your office but it also organizes your mind allowing you to think clearly. So it is obvious, organization leads to less wasted time which in turn can increase productivity. But the question many people struggle with remains: How do I get organized? Where should I start?
First start with removing the clutter! This does not mean shoving papers into another drawer but actually reducing the amount of unnecessary items that are taking over your office.
Tackle your office clean-up by:
- Clearing off your desk.
- Taking a look at your shelves to see if there are any out-of-date items—books, manuals, business binders.
- Going through your junk drawer—everyone has that drawer—and group together those small items such as paper clips, pens, rubber bands, etc.
- Moving your office around. Keep your most frequently used equipment accessible while moving those seldom used tools to a lower spot.
Now that you have acknowledged your clutter it is best to start with the easiest step: throwing out the insignificant items.
Throw out anything:
- You have not used in months.
- Things that are broken.
- If it is covered in dust (like those decorative items you have forgot about) pitch it, only if it holds no value to you. Those dusty items are not making your office look any better.
- Shred any papers—pay stubs, bills, bank statements—that are over a year old. But make sure to keep those important records—warranty documents, tax reports, legal certificates—in a safe place.
- Tip about shredding: If your office does not have a shredding service do not wait to shred documents. Take the time to collect the papers you need to shred and actually dispose of them. If you leave them sitting around they will pile up and it will take you twice the amount of time to get rid of them.
Next get the organizing supplies:
- Label maker
- Filing Cabinets
With your now reduced amount of clutter it is time to organize it!
- Separate information into different piles based on your own preferences and categories—departments, due dates, company names, sale periods, etc.
- Take those categories and assign them a folder or binder. Keep them chronologically ordered so when someone asks for a specific document you’ll be able to narrow down the dates of when it was filed.
- Utilize the label maker and tabs to create different sections in folders or binders.
Once you have organized those piles make sure to dedicate shelf and drawer space to specific categories so you can locate them with ease. It is not to say that every single item needs a designated spot. Allow yourself to have a small overflow basket to store those items you haven’t had a chance to file away. This way it keeps those loose papers in one place and you will be less likely to misplace documents that you swore were on your desk a second ago.
It can be time consuming to organize your space but in the long run you save yourself from spending unnecessary time digging through papers when it could have taken you less than a minute. Once you have reorganized your office make sure to set time aside every week to quickly clean up any clutter before it gets out of hand. An organized office makes you look professional and people trust others who have a sense of order. Don’t let the chaos of clutter rule your life, instead take the time to create a working environment that is stress free—for others as well as yourself—and one that will increase your productivity.
Marketing & Communications Intern