A cluttered room reflects a cluttered mind, and nowhere is this more apparent than in an office, whether at home or at your place of employment. An untidy office often means that you spend more time looking for important items and information than actually working, which in turn adds to your overall stress levels in unhealthy ways.
It’s inefficient in other ways as well, as you may occasionally forget in what order you need to process tasks and ignore high-priority work in favor of low-priority jobs. The only way to remedy this is to start the unpleasant task of tidying up and then organizing your workspace in such a way that it won’t get cluttered again; let’s look at some easy-to-follow tips to do just that.
To get work done quickly, efficiently and on time you’re going to need to organize your workspace in such a way that workflow is obvious by just looking at your desk. Now, you’re probably thinking of those In and Out trays that have become the staple of office furniture stores everywhere, but they have a tendency to fill up with mountains of papers and deter you from doing work.
What you need is a smart setup in which you can see what needs to be done and the priority of the tasks with a single glance. A spatial layout is great, where tasks are in an offset pile, or, when most of your work is on your computer, you can make a list (not on your computer; make a hard copy!) with the order in which you’ll be doing your work. However you organize what needs to be done, always keep the general workflow in mind. Should you lose sight of it all, what will happen is that you’ll reorganize chaos without addressing the underlying problem.
If you need some assistance with workflow, for example when you have a great many small tasks to perform rather than a few big ones, consider labeling what needs to be done. On the labels assign color-coding or a number to give it a spot in the hierarchy of priorities and keep everything organized that way. Folders of different colors work very well for this, too. No matter how you label things, the main thing is that you know what needs to be done and when, saving you a lot of stress and anxiety.
Keep your workspace clean and free from clutter. Wipe it down in the middle of the day, getting rid of anything you don’t need, as well as at the end of the day, ensuring that you come back to a clean, well-ordered desk in the morning to ensure that the day is off to a good start. By keeping the area around you clean you’ll feel better and will feel spurred on to do well and work hard. It’s also a great change of pace; rather than take a break to eat you can take one to clean the place up so you can get back to the task at hand refreshed in more ways than one.
A strong inclination while cleaning is to just dump everything in the nearest drawer and forget about it, leaving the next occupant of your desk to take care of it at some point down the line. Don’t do this. For one it’s obnoxious, and you need that space to stay organized! Treat your drawers like the rest of your workspace and keep them tidy, clean and let each one have a specific purpose.
5. Change Slowly
However you decide to implement changes, consider doing it slowly. Even if you only do it so you can get used to it, changing things around, especially important things, should be done at a sedate pace so no stress is caused. Don’t forget, you’re doing this to avoid stress, not increase it! Good luck, and have fun reorganizing!