They say paperwork, receipts, bills, and ledgers have a way of breeding and overwhelming a workspace if left to their own devices. Anyone who has ever had an extremely busy month and no time left to organize their things can certainly attest to this phenomenon.
In order to control looming deadlines, the flow of your in- and outbox, and not to misplace important documents and paperwork, consider these five practical tips to effectively organize your workspace.
Make sure your desk is always free for writing and working.
If you can no longer see the surface of your desk, then you know you have a problem. Desks are for writing, whether it’s longhand or typing on a computer. Getting it cluttered with paperwork and other items, or having tasks buried under spam, personal, and unanswered email will make things hell for you in the long run, so don’t let them pile up. Address pending tasks ASAP, and always keep your desk’s surface clear for the next set of tasks to be done.
Make a list of to-dos for the day…and stick with it.
Avoid getting backlogged by adhering to a to-do list. Make sure it’s a doable, not an ambitious one. Adjust the time you need to spend on a task depending on how difficult or time-consuming it could get. If you need more time for it, break down the task in digestible parts which you can tackle for the rest of the week. Spend a weekend trying to catch up on your backlog and to clear your schedule.
Organize computer and electronic cables.
When it comes to preventing computer cables and power cords from getting tangled up and looking unsightly, twist-ties are your friends. You can hang the cords on hooks behind your desk, or buy one of those cable organizers that look like cradles for cords. These can prevent you from tripping over the cables, and also possible damages to the wiring.
Another great DIY tip to keep cables tidy? Use a ring-binder (the kind that looks like a tube which opens up) to hold a bunch of cables in place so they won’t end up twisted and tangled on the floor.
Throw out things you no longer need.
Old receipts, copies of copies, back issues of magazines, catalogues, and stuff you no longer need in your current project or work have to go. Either throw them out or file them in folders or ledgers marked “Done” with the corresponding dates. The important thing is to de-clutter in order to focus on the present tasks and more important tools of work.
Invest in proper storage and filing tools.
Forget the cutesy organizers and frilly, padded boxes for storage. What you need are no-nonsense and easy to access filing and storage tools in your workspace. When it comes to storing gadgets and office supplies, invest in clear boxes so you can instantly see the items you need, which saves you valuable time in the process.
Go for practical binders with tags at the sides that allow you to see at a glance what the papers in them contain. Ring binders, whether two or three ringed, are especially good at organizing pages and pages of documents. The great thing about ring binders is that you can keep adding more pages to them over time. Even CDs and DVDs can be stored in special CD binders to protect them and the data they hold. You can place the binders upright in a shelf or book case so you can simply pull out files whenever you need them. You can also opt for color-coded binders if you want to file documents in a more creative manner. Samsill even makes an antimicrobial binder that will prevent the growth of bacteria, which is great during cold and flu season at the office.
Maria Samuels is a materials specialist for In Style Modern, a vendor of high quality hanging chairs and tulip tables. She also has a background in interior design and occasionally does consulting from time to time. Know the 10 Things To Ditch To Make Your Office More Eco-Friendly by reading her post on Naturallyearthfriendly.com.
Do you have any special tips or tricks for organizing your workspace? Leave your comment below.