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How to Organize Your Workspace

They say a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind. There are many things to consider when examining ways to improve your productivity; whether you are talking about software tools to help you manage your workflow or implementing policies across your company aimed at optimizing the productivity of your workforce the ultimate goal of getting the most you can out of yourself and your employees is always the driving force.

Before doing any of those things, any quest to greater productivity should begin with your very own workspace. Here are a few tips for tidying up your space and making sure you keep it that way.

1. De-clutter Your Desk

Think about what items you actually need on a daily basis. Your computer, maybe some pads and pens, perhaps another item or two fall under the category of things you need to have on your desk. Things you might need should be banished from your desk.

2. Establish a “to- do” and “completed” area on your desk

Only if you must use a lot of paper in your job. A tray of some sort with things yet to be completed and another with things you’ve already done with the desk space in front of you available for what you are currently working on. This sounds simple but the trick is to stick to this. Don’t allow yourself to have 3 or 4 different things spread across your desk as you bounce between one task or another. You can only work on one thing at once, make the physical flow of your work across your desk reflect this.

3. Do something about those cables

Cables scattered about your desk or around your feet add to the overall feeling of “clutter” that is plaguing your workspace. There are a number of devices sold at office supply or furniture stores that will harness your cables, or you can tie them together or use any number of household items to clear these out of the way. It makes a difference.

4. Assign a location for everything

Yes, everything. Every single item on or around your desk should have a place “where it goes”. We’ve discussed what belongs on top of the desk. Now put items like staplers or reports you may reference into drawers or cabinets starting with the most important items within reach and then items of descending importance further and further away. If items do not have an assigned home, then they end up living on top of your desk and this adds up quickly over time.

5. Categorize everything

Documents belong with documents. Office supplies belong with office supplies. Within that, manila folders belong with other sorts of folders. People often don’t even realize how much stuff they really have because of their disparate storage approach. When you reach for something you haven’t used in a while, you should still know exactly where it is because you have categorized what goes in each drawer or on each shelf. This can be a huge time-saver both in terms of the moment you are looking for paper clips (for instance) and by saving you an unnecessary errand to get more paper clips when you’ve had them all along.

6. Go digital

The number of tools that exist for organizing work and collaborating with your team are continuing to expand. While it may not be possible to achieve a totally paperless office, getting as close as you can should be the goal. The more paper you have the easier it is to become cluttered and disorganized. Not only is moving everything into electronic form kinder to the environment, it is also a more efficient way to organize and share all of your information. When you are looking for a report from 2 years ago that somebody else referenced one year ago and didn’t file correctly, you are wasting time and the paper that you are looking for is wasting space.

Ultimately the core idea behind all of this is that you need to establish an organizational system in which everything is where you need it to be be, when you need it. You’ll save time, you’ll be more productive, but perhaps most importantly, you’ll be relieved of the anxiety that accompanies a cluttered workspace.

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About Fernando Cuscuela

Fernando Cuscuela is an experienced entrepreneur who likes nothing better than to start new businesses and make them profitable. He founded a successful Digital Media Agency, Clickbunker, and most recently he started Everypost, where he now focuses most of his attention.