Is a cluttered and disorganized office space getting in the way of your productivity?
Is the task of straightening up your desk daunting?
Organizing office paperwork can be intimidating, but getting the job done opens up the opportunity for much greater achievement and a far more pleasant office. An organized office us really worth it, so find the time to work through it, and apply these organizational tips to your own situation. Once you have clean, tidy and organized, make it a habit to keep your office neat. Of course it will be hard work, at least initially, but the final result will be satisfactory.
1. Set Apart Time to Organize Everything
Make time to tackle the job of organization. By doing it all at once, you will finish the project sooner, and be able to enjoy a clean workspace right away. Plan on having to take more time than you think you will. Be careful when working to not let yourself be distracted. Do take breaks at set times throughout the process, and reward yourself when you complete it.
2. Clean Off the Desk
Keep your desk area clean. Put away all papers. With everything filed, you will be able to find what you need more easily than if it were sitting in a stack on your desk. Organize drawers to have the most used items nearest to you. Keep important items, like the computer, printer, telephone and card file on the desk, but put all papers and other tools away. You will be more productive with less distraction and more space to spread out.
3. Thoroughly Organize Your Files
If you don't have one already, set up an organized filing system. Label filing cabinets and files alphabetically. Sub-divide files as needed. Put every paper into a file that is accurately labeled and easy to remember. Use a color coding system, if it will help you. If files are extensive, keep a list of the names handy.
4. Throw Away Anything Unneeded
Don't keep clutter you do not need. Throw out scrap paper and old printed emails and memos that are no longer important. Toss junk mail as soon as it comes in. However, be careful not to throw away papers that are important. If you are unsure about something, set it by in a designated place to ask about.
5. Set Up a System for Dealing with Incoming Papers
Have trays to sort incoming papers. Create separate spaces for papers that need filing, ones that need immediate attention, and ones that need to be passed on to someone else. Empty these trays into the correct files regularly. Sort through incoming mail as soon as it arrives. This will save on time otherwise wasted in looking for things, sorting through unimportant documents, or working too close to deadlines.
6. Work on One Project at a Time
If a project is not actively in the works at the present, put the papers into the file. They will be easily retrievable when the time comes to use them. This will keep files from getting lost or disorganized, and it will keep you from being distracted. By having one project on your desk, you will be able to give it your full attention.
7. Clear Your Desk Daily
At the end of every work day, clear off your desk. You will be able to start every morning fresh. Important documents will not be lost or misfiled. You will stay on top of your organization, because you devote time to it every day.
8. File Papers Immediately
When papers come in, don't let them stack up. Place them in the correct trays, and deal with them immediately. Put files into their folders and binders. You may have to let them pile up in a tray for a short time, but never let it get out of hand. Think about whether it takes more time to sort the papers into files now or later. Find out which is more efficient, and go with that process.
9. Store Boxed Files Annually
Files will accumulate. Every year, pack up the ones that are not used regularly and store them out of your work space. With more room to work in, you will save time by not having to deal with the clutter of unused, though organized, files.
10. Be Strict about Keeping to the System
Do not slack off on keeping everything organized, even when you are busy. Letting the system you have set up go for even one day could send you back to where you were when you started. Save that time and the discouragement that would come by taking the effort to put things in their place. Organizing your office will reward you!