Ah spring! We finally meet. Old man winter has finally gotten his stuff together and headed out. Just in time. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was just about tired of that cold rain, ice, and snow that seemed to blanket most of the US this year. With that being said, we all know spring cleaning comes hand-in-hand with the season. And, it’s a cold hard fact that people are going to judge your cleanliness. In the work place, there is even more scrutiny on how you keep your work space. And, someone is less likely to do work with you if you not a cleanly person. So here are some times to keep your work place neat and organized.
First, divide your work space into zones. You need to figure out what exactly you need from your work space and what do you need it to accomplish. You may want to have a space for your computer, a research area, a printing area. Don’t just push everything up there and expect it to work fluidly.
Next, keep everything that you need, right at an arm’s length. You should really only be keeping the stuff that is immediately in the need on your desk. So your computer, a writing tablet, and really just depending on your job would alter this criteria. However, those stacks of papers, the boxes of paper clips, the old coffee cups and water bottles, need to get off of your desk. This goes back to your first tip. Keep those items that you zoned for supplies stocked. No need to keep them in your work space, put them in the area that you designated for them.
Third, you need to get or create a daily paper system. It’s very rare that a company is actually 100% paperless and most professionals today are buried in it. You can help you streamline your paper work process by getting hanging files or baskets that are labeled with to read, to do, and to file. Then you can set up specific days where you do just such. That way you are not completely overwhelmed on getting things done. Now something that is on going or completely urgent then you can possible even color code those items and integrate in with your new daily paper system.
The next tip is to establish limits. Now this is with property. How you deal with your co workers is a whole another blog post. But this time, the issue isn’t your space, it’s that you have too much stuff. Set limits on the stuff that you will tolerate and how much of it from the beginning. For example: I’m going to keep one book shelf. When that book shelf gets full, then I will get away one book for every new one that I add to maintain the limit that I set from myself from the beginning. Same thing can go with a filing cabinet. When it gets full, it’s time to clean out the clutter and getting rid of the paperwork that you no longer need.
Your next tip is provided by your junk drawer. We all have that one catch-all drawer. It’s time to throw some things out and a desk drawer. Get some desk organizers or dividers can provide wonders and free up a lot of space in that catch-all drawer. You can even get anxiety from having these types of drawers, because the majority of people, don’t even know what’s in there.
For your next tip, this also happens to be most people’s biggest mistake. Do not use your email as a to-do list. This is bad! Most of us are drowning and emails and we use our email inbox as a to do list. Email and digital clutter can be just as stressful as physical clutter. I would suggest organizing your inbox with files like we did for your paperwork. Stuff that needs to be done, things that can wait, things to do, etc. This will give you certain tasks to do. Some software and email clients even get you an organizer or a calendar to put tasks in. So what’s making you hold onto those 2,000 + emails in your inbox? If it’s done, time to move on, or even archive them if you feel that you may need those in the future.
Now, streamline your desktop icons. Work should come fluidly to most of us and you should be prepared to do your best work. The same thing goes for your computer. When you have so many icons that you can’t find what you are looking for, those icons are going to trigger your stress hormone, which is going to just make matters worse. Instead come up with a logical streamline system and reduce a couple of those icons off your desk top. Also, take off any sticky notes or reminders from the monitor itself, as they will only distract you.
If your office doesn’t have a coat closet, you may want to hang hooks for outwear. Personal items all over the floor are just going to overwhelm your space or cubicle. Make sure to get separate hooks for the things that you carry: purse, umbrella, jacket, office sweater/hoodie, etc. This will also make it visually appealing and just get in the habit of doing this everyday.
Even the most organized person is going to have over flow. Keep a small basket for these such things. Maybe you have print subscriptions. You could keep them in this basket and then make sure to set a reminder to de-clutter every few days or weeks, based on the frequency of items going into this basket. Also, if you are one who carries a gym bag or change of clothes with you. Make sure to designate a cupboard or drawer for these items to get them out of the way.
And finally, but certainly not last. Make sure to sanitize and disinfect regularly. I don’t care if you think you are neatest person on earth, but you still need to prevent the build up of dust, dirt, food, and finger prints. Once a week, give your phone, desk, keyboard, and monitor a wipe down. This habit will also force you to tide up all those loose papers that should be in your new filing system, and getting rid of all that lingering piled up trash. Plus, 75% of working people say a clean office makes them more productive.
So here is your first series of spring cleaning tips. This was just for the desk. Take these tips and see what marvels they perform at your place of employment, unless your a mechanic, may not help much then. Good luck and happy spring!!