By Nicole Tinkham
With so many things going on, who has time to organize their office? What you really should be asking is who has time to find anything in an unorganized office. Americans waste on average 55 minutes a day searching for misplaced items. With that being said, it’s time to get organized and become more productive! Here are 9 easy tips to help you get started:
1. Have a place for everything
Your idea of cleaning up your desk may be shoveling all of the papers, pens, folders, and whatever else you have piled up in a drawer and forgetting about it (until you need to find these items, or course). Sound familiar? Don’t worry you’re not the only one. This not only wastes time but also causes stress and frustration, something you shouldn’t be experiencing at work. Save time and your sanity by creating logical places for everything.
2. Trash what you don’t need
The thought of getting rid of paperwork from your desk may terrify you. What if you need that piece of scrap paper with that phone number scribbled on it sometime in the distant future? Here’s a trick that can help you let go of old things you will probably never use again. Think about when you last used an item. If it hasn’t been used in the past six months, it’s time to let go. If it’s an office supply you can always donate it. If it’s paperwork, go ahead and recycle it. Warning: once you get started you may not be able to stop. Take a breath and save the things you really need!
3. Think vertically
Store things based on their usage. It would be impractical to keep things you use on a daily basis on the top shelf out of reach or down low where you would have to get on all fours. Again, this wastes time and causes frustration. Instead, use the top and bottom shelves for things you use less often. Keep regularly used items at your finger tips. There are many things you can use to help you get organized (shelves, baskets, hooks, file cabinets) and luckily, we started a collection of our favorite office organizing products and tips. Click here to see our growing collection of favorite things on our Pinterest board “Let’s get organized”.
4. Create labels
Labeling and filing everything in your office can be tedious but in the long run it will work out in your (and anyone else who uses your space) favor. You aren’t expected to label each individual thing on your desk. Obviously your stapler doesn’t need a label that says “stapler”. You do want to label things like file folders, bins, baskets, drawers, containers, and shelves. Anything that you need to find quickly should get a label. Don’t have a label maker? No worries! Keeton’s offers several label options such as file folder labels, multi-use labels, and color coding labels.
5. Create a meeting folder
We’ve all had to scramble around getting odds and ends together 5 minutes before a meeting at some point. How nice would it be to have everything together and organized well before the meeting? Well, you too could be stress-free in those 5 minutes with this simple trick. Create a meeting folder (see our File Folder Buying Guide), box, binder or whatever you can use to gather information. As you find something that would be helpful to have during the meeting, throw it in the box or folder. Now you have everything together and organized so you can make it to that meeting on time.
6. The pending folder
Have too many papers/tasks on your desk that need to be completed? This could be a problem. Not only is this an unorganized mess but it could also affect your progress in getting tasks done. Being too overwhelmed and trying to complete too many things at once can actually slow you down. This is why you need a pending folder. This can either be a folder set up in your email or a physical folder on your desk. Put any pending projects in this folder and don’t forget to check it often to make sure tasks have been completed!
7. Keep track of ALL calls
Whether you’re checking your voicemail or having a direct conversation over the phone, it’s important to take notes in a notebook. Don’t rely on yourself to remember certain conversations because we all know things like this slip our minds quickly. Jot down notes in a notebook during your phone conversations. Notebooks are great for this because it allows you to keep everything together in one place.
8. Get your desk back in order before you leave
About an hour before you leave work for the day, sort through anything left out on your desk. You don’t want to start the next day off with a headache trying to go through all those papers you forgot you left out. You also might find something urgent that needs to get done by the end of the day that would otherwise be hidden under everything else on your desk. Just remember, make sure everything goes back in its place!
9. Ask for help
If you’re still lost when it comes to office organizing, just ask for help. At Keeton’s we can answer your organizing questions, find solutions to your organizing problems, and provide you with more tips and tricks that may work better for you.
We realize that there are tons of different ways to organize the office. The tips mentioned above should help you get started but you may discover ways that better suit your needs. If you have an awesome organizing tip, please share it in the comment section below. The best tip wins a prize!