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Tips for Organizing Your Office

Tips for Organizing Your Office

Clutter in the workplace ranges from merely annoying to nearly paralyzing and is always detrimental to productivity. A cluttered work environment also projects an unfavorable image to clients and associates. When the desktop becomes a storage place rather than a workspace, its time to reorganize! Several factors contribute to a disorganized workspace, but here are three ways to combat the saboteurs:

1. Get a good desk. This doesnt mean an expensive desk. It means one that is right for you and meets your daily needs. Your personal work habits as well as your business activities will determine what style and size desk is appropriate for you. If you refer to books, manuals or publications regularly in your business, a desk with an upright hutch would make sense. You can keep the books you refer to daily in the hutch. They will be easily accessed, but up off your work space. If books dont need to be right at hand, a separate bookcase will suffice and you can go without the hutch in favor of a larger flat workspace. If you use a computer and these days, who doesnt? and you have ample floor space, consider an Lshaped desk. You can keep your computer on one section and still have a large workspace on the other. This configuration allows you to avoid juggling two priorities on the same desktop. Another great aspect about an Lshaped desk is the additional room you gain for desktop tools such as upright file holders, stacking trays, baskets, portable hanging files, and your phone. Dont forget all the space on your walls. When you cant build out, build up! Shelves and wall bins are a great way to display personal items, awards, and photos while keeping your work area clean and functional.

2. Improve your time management. When you dont have a good handle on your time, you often end up in a rush to get things done and inevitably, you cant make being organized a priority. Papers get tossed on the desk for now and magazines get stacked on the chair or floor because you dont have time to read them. One of the simplest ways to make better use of your time is to rethink how long tasks will actually take, and schedule accordingly. Visualize yourself completing a task from start to finish and what actions you must take. Until you get more accurate at estimating, add 25% to the time you think youll need to complete a certain task. Another way to realize actual time is to time yourself while you do different things, such as paying bills, balancing the checkbook or going to the post office. You might be surprised to find out how long things actually take, or how quickly they can be done. When running errands between business appointments, always allow for unexpected circumstances such as traffic or long lines.

3. Purge that paper! Many people accumulate paper clutter due to a fear of throwing away something important, or a concern that it may be needed later. The result is that they end up keeping everything and not being able to discern which things have present or future value and which can be safely discarded. The reality is that 80 percent of the paper saved just in case is never needed again, and if it is, the chances are very good that it can be recreated or obtained from another source. From mail to fax to advertisements and memos, paper is the largest contributor to clutter in an office environment. In order to avoid a rapid buildup of paper, a regular paper maintenance system is a necessity in every office. Remember, your trash can and your shredder are your friends.

Keep in mind that getting organized is a process rather than an event, so dont expect miracles overnight. You can speed the process along by hiring help, such as a professional organizer, who will work side by side with you and keep you focused. If you do plan on tackling the reorganizing project yourself, its possible to make a good amount of headway in a relatively short time if you have a game plan and some goals in mind before you start. Just start in one place and keep at it, and before long youll be amazed at the results you see.