Today was like an early spring cleaning for me as I cleaned up a pile of paperwork that had been lying around. At the beginning of each year, I always do cleaning and organizing to make way for the new year tax returns about to go into the files. I wanted to share a blog post with you about organizing office clutter.
If you work in an office or have a home office, you know how clutter can hurt your productivity. The key to keeping your workspace free of distractions is to have a plan. When you make a concerted effort to organize your office space, you’ll likely notice a big difference in your ability to handle your workload.
1. Start by looking at the surface of your desk. Chances are that you have a lot of things on your desk that you don’t actually need there. Excess paperwork, notepads, mail that needs to be opened and meaningless knick knacks can really take away from what your desk is meant to do. You should try to remove as much from the surface of your desk as possible so that you can focus on your work.
2. If you don’t have an organized filing system in place, your paperwork is going to be a major contributor to your clutter. Start by dedicating certain folders to different types of paperwork. You’ll need separate files for different accounts or different bills. Having a specific place for everything will help you fend off clutter ahead of time.
3. Place all the paperwork on your desk in the right spot. When you receive new paperwork, handle it only once. Don’t open a letter and then let it sit on your desk. Put it in the file it belongs in, whether that file is for permanent storage for a client’s account or it’s an action file for bills that need to be paid. If you stick to the rule of immediately filing paperwork, you won’t have it build up on your desk. If you have paperwork that you need to access on a daily basis, consider getting a desk letter organizer. This way the paperwork that you need will always be handy, but it won’t waste a lot of space on your desk.
4. Another important rule to follow is to de-clutter your desk at the end of the work day. Don’t leave files out on your desk. This is a surefire recipe for starting a pile of paperwork on your desk. Clean up after yourself and you’ll never let your paperwork get out of control again.
5. Another place in your workspace that gets cluttered quickly is the top drawer of your desk. This often becomes a catch-all for everything that you want to hide from the surface of your desk. Make sure you have a top-drawer organizer which will keep your paperclips, pens, post it notes and other desk accessories organized. Don’t put anything in the top drawer that you don’t actually need. If you haven’t used it in six months or more, throw it out to make more space in your desk.
As long as you have your organizational systems in place, it should be fairly easy to keep your workspace clutter-free. Stay on top of the clutter by putting things away each day. It’s a lot easier to tackle clutter a little bit at a time then to let it build up until it takes over your desk.
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