You may think that you don’t have time to organize your office, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider. Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer. A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.
Follow these tips to help you transform your office into an efficient workspace:
1. Get rid of everything that you don’t need
Look around. What haven’t you used in a while? Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc. Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.
2. Put things where they belong
Gather and redistribute – Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.
3. Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach
Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.
4. Put a label on everything
Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.
5.Make regular backups
As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular backups. Some quick tips for creating a smooth filing system:
6. Create a meeting folder
Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress if that a meeting is moved up.
7. Create a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder
So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
8. Clear off your desk
Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.
9. Organize your desktop
Now that you’ve streamlined you desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it. Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.
10. Organize your drawers
Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc. Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.
11. Clear your piles
Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones. Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.
12. Sort mail
Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off.
13. Archive files
Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
14. Magazine boxes
Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
15. Reading folder
Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
16. Archive files
When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
17. Have a fresh start everyday
At the end of the day do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.
18. File weekly
Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.
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