Are you spending time searching for files on your computer, files on your desk, papers, stationary … everything?
Some say that the state of your desk, home or car is a reflection of your state of mind as each can be seen as an extension of you. I’m not sure of any exact science behind this but I wholeheartedly agree that if my desk is cluttered my mind will be cluttered too. If your work environment is untidy your productivity can suffer and overall performance can be impacted. It is for this reason that some employers operate a clean desk policy - it is a good habit to adopt - organization is key to productivity, so follow these tips to success.
CLEAR YOUR CLUTTER
Go through all of the papers on your desk. Do they need to be there? Are they duplicates? Get rid of anything that is unnecessary. Clean out your drawers and throw out or give away things that you don’t need / use. Get rid of old notebooks, papers, anything that isn’t used needs to go.
If you need to file papers, make a pile for filing (we will come back to this later)
ORGANISE YOUR DESK
One you have moved the unnecessary clutter from your desk you can organise the essential items so that everything is in easy reach. Make sure that there is allocated space for everything. You don’t need piles of stationary or overflowing pots of pens. Keep only what you need. Put everything in it’s own space and make sure you return it there after use.
Make a place for those papers that need to be filed. Do you need an in tray and an out tray?
ORGANISE YOUR FILES
Files and filing – a necessary evil. It is so easy to neglect this however organisation here is key to organisation in the rest of the office. If filing is difficult there will be overflow onto the desk, the floor or elsewhere and chaos will ensue. Make it easy for yourself. Make sure you have space to store your files? Is the space adequate? Can you easily reach the files? Make sure that the answer to these questions is a resounding yes!!
Are you files logically ordered? Go through them and establish a system – Tidy your paperwork, get rid of duplicates, label your folders, use an index so that you can easily access and find documents. Whether it is ordered alphabetically, by client or by matter make sure that you and anyone else accessing the files understands and sticks to the system. This goes not only for traditional paper filing systems but online files or those on your hard drive or computer storage.
Once the filing systems are established, regularly sort and maintain them.
When working focus on one task at a time. See each task through to conclusion before moving onto the next task. Remove distractions, put your phone on aeroplane mode and don’t check emails. Patty Kreamer, (a certified organizer coach, certified professional organizer, author, speaker and president of www.byebyeclutter.com) says that we should not pick up a document, look at it and place it back on the desk. Decide on an action for that paper and follow it through, if not possible to see through to conclusion immediately place it where it is needed for the next step in the process.
SCHEDULE YOUR TIME
Each week and day allocate time in your diary to fulfil tasks. Recurring tasks can be allocated in advance at the same time each week and allocate time each day for tasks specific to that day. Work on each task during the allocated time without distraction. Also allow some time at the end of each day to file any completed items, update your to do list and clear your emails. This ensures that you will start the following day organized and primed for productivity.