According to the Wall Street Journal, the average executive pilfers six weeks a year searching for important documents that are buried in desk clutter. Wow! That is more time than the average employee gets to spend on vacation!
Here are some quick workstation organization tips that are very do-able:
- Get rid of pens and pencils you don’t need. Every month I end up with a collection of random pens at my desk that I do not like to write with. If you aren’t going to use them, don’t feel bad about donating them to the office supply closet. Pens and pencils can be clutter and the less clutter you have, the closer you are to having an organized workstation.
- Have a place for pocket stuff. Your keys, cell phone, wallet, Bluetooth ear piece, etc. should have a home. A pencil drawer can be installed under most any type of worksurface if you do not have space in existing drawers. You could also set aside a small amount of space that isn’t really usable like under your monitor.
- Move electronics out of sight. Your cable modem, wireless router, firewall, batter backup, etc. should not be on your desk. Even if you have enough room on your worksurface, it introduces visual clutter. Cutting down on clutter will reduce the amount of work between a messy desk and an organized desk.
- Proximity based on frequency of use. A good rule is if you use it every day, it should be closer than something you use only a few times each week. This is common sense, but it is easy to arrange our cubicles for aesthetics instead of usefulness. This will help you to keep an organized workstation because you will be moving fewer items around where they can become disorganized.
- Easy file access. Without moving your chair or getting up, you should be able to grab an unused manila folder, label it and put it in your file pedestal. Easy filing is a cornerstone to good organization. The more effort filing requires, the more difficult it will be to stay organized.
- Scratch notepad. During the course of the day, you will need to write down telephone numbers, purchase order numbers, names, addresses, order confirmations, tracking numbers, etc. If you can keep these all in one place, you will be far more productive when you need to look something up later. By keeping a notepad specifically for these items, I do not lose as many things and I always know where to look.
- Scanning documents. Scan important documents and turn them into PDF’s to keep on your computer. If you travel a lot, you can keep everything right there with you. While in the office, you can easily access your documents without having them lay around on your desk.
- Cleaning supplies. By keeping an organized desk clean, you maintain the organization. If you clean your workstation with Windex and paper towels, make sure you have some nearby. Make things as easy as possible to encourage you to wipe down your worksurface and clean it off more often.
- Organize your wires. It is easy to have your desk covered with wires from all of your different electronics. Make sure that you have wires that are long enough to tuck out of the way. If they are too short, you will not be able to arrange them neatly. Go wireless whenever it is an option, more and more devices are supporting Bluetooth and WiFi.
It is more efficient to stay organized as you work instead of trying to do it all at one time. Try to constantly work on keeping your desk neat. If it gets disorganized in the middle of a big project, take small steps like clearing a small area before you leave for the day. Making a small effort toward organization may not seem like much, but if you do it everyday, you will be heading in the right direction.