Organization Made Simple, Inc was recently hired by Pepsico, Inc. to conduct online workshops on office organizing with their employees from all over the country. Here is a small clip from our presentation, focusing on 9 steps to creating an organized office.
1) Make a Mess!
In order to create order, you first need to make a mess. Don’t let the clutter overwhelm you. Take things out, see what you have – you never know what hidden treasures are lurking in those desk drawers.
Get rid of things! You definitely have documents, papers, and miscellaneous office accessories sitting in the depths of your desk that you have never looked at or used. Now is the time to get rid of it all! Eliminate unused files, scribbled on pieces of paper, broken rubber bands, and everything else that it is time to part with.
Since a significant amount of time is spent sitting behind a desk or in front of a computer, design your work area so that there’s a place for everything and that the telephone, notepads, pens, pencils and appointment book are at your fingertips. Place additional resources (only those that are essential) within easy reach. This will minimize your movement and allow you to be more productive.
To prevent unnecessary clutter and wasted time, limit the amount of items on your desk. Enter deadlines and notes directly into your phone, calendar or personal planner. This will prevent little scraps of paper from piling up on your desk. If you have trouble writing too many hand written notes, I suggest using a small bin or basket where you can keep those notes. Hold yourself accountable – make sure to enter your notes at the end of the day, or when the bin starts to pile up. Choose which solution works best for you. Sometimes, setting a 10-minute organizing window on your calendar can be the best form of accountability.
Categorize files into two categories: active and inactive. Keep active files accessible (on your desk, in a rolling file cart or in a filing cabinet) and store inactive files in a labeled storage box. This will reduce time spent rummaging through a huge stack of files that may not be current.
Don’t forget to utilize the often-wasted space available behind the door or on the wall over your desk. Using products such as wall-mounted grids or over-the-door hanging storage racks to hold desk accessories and items can maximize your office space.
Reading a document over and over can waste valuable time. Minimize the number of times a document is read by immediately filing, discarding or placing the items in a “to do” file. The amount of paperwork on your desk will be greatly reduced by making this a part of your daily routine.
Whatever method you choose to store your paperwork and desk accessories, it should be easily accessible, which means you’re more likely to use it.
- Commit to immediately filing items as soon as they arrive on your desk.
- Commit to spending 15 minutes every day to prioritizing your paperwork and correctly filing your files.
- Commit to leaving work every day with a clear desk.
- Make clear goals that you can commit to and hold yourself accountable.
9) Plan ahead
To avoid last-minute hassles, create a calendar to plan your to-dos, and aim to have your documents filed well in advance of any deadline. Work backwards from your target completion date and set aside a time to organize your documents. You’ll experience less stress when you divide the work process into smaller manageable projects.