Organizing Your Office

By Eileen Bailey

Whether your office is in your home or in an office building, it is easy to have stacks of papers around, waiting for your attention. Or do you have to move things around, just to find enough working space?  No matter what your situation, some of the following tips may help you to find the organization you need to be more productive. 

  1. Review your office space to decide if it is easy to get from one place to another. Can you easily move from your desk to your file cabinet to your copy machine?  If not, are there pieces of furniture that are in the way? Are these pieces of furniture essential to your working? If they are not essential, remove them altogether. If they are essential, rearrange your office to make it easier to move between areas you consistently use.
  2. If your desk is a complete mess, start by taking everything off and beginning again. Think about what you really need on your desk to complete your work. Find other places to put the excess junk you have lying around your desk. Eliminating the extra things can decrease the amount of distractions you will have while working.
  3. Use desk trays to help organize your papers. Have one for papers that need to be addressed right away and another for items you will need to work on within the next few days.
  4. Consider using a scanner to make your office paperless. You can scan papers in to eliminate filing papers. This way, a copy will be kept in your computer rather than in file cabinets or in stacks of papers around your office.
  5. If there is paperwork you must keep and file, try to get into the habit of filing on a daily basis to eliminate becoming overwhelmed with papers. You may also want to consider hiring a high school student to work with you for an hour each day to file your papers. This is relatively inexpensive and can be well worth the money you spend by increasing your productivity.
  6. How many machines do you have in your office? Do you have a printer, a copier and a fax machine? Consider trading them all in for a multi-function machine that can do all of this work. The extra space you get can help you organize better and give your office a less cluttered feel.
  7. Purchase a small bookshelf to hold manuals or other books you have cluttering your office space. The shelf can also hold bins for storing papers or extra office supplies.
  8. Keep essentials within reach. Can you easily reach the items you use on a regular basis? Make sure when sitting at your desk, the things, such as stapler, pens, and scrap paper are within an arm’s reach to avoid constantly getting up and breaking your concentration.
  9. Review your storage needs. Do you have cabinets and adequate storage or do you have office supplies, papers and other necessities sitting around your office? Invest in a cabinet to keep items neat and out of the way, yet close at hand.
  10. Purchase some cord covers to help get cords from computers and other equipment out of the way. There are commercial cord covers available in office supply stores. Shower curtain covers can also work by holding several cords together and can be out of the way along the wall.
  11. Set up a recycle center in your office. Use a large bin to put all papers that can be recycled and empty it on a weekly basis.
  12. Invest in a shredder to shred any papers with private information that should not be recycled.
  13. Clutter can be caused by indecisiveness. Determine ahead of time what you need and what you don’t need and stick with your decisions. Throw away (or recycle) what you do not need immediately.
  14. Use a day planner or desk calendar to help keep you organized. This can help you to put papers away without being afraid of forgetting what you need to accomplish.
  15. Schedule time each week to spend an hour cleaning up your office and reorganizing. This will help you maintain the organization you have worked so hard to achieve.
  16. Plan ahead. Are you constantly running out of some supplies? Do you tend to need to stop your work to replenish your supplies? Establish a system to review your supplies once a week and order online to avoid stopping work to go to the store or not being able to accomplish your project.
  17. Wait at least 24 hours before making a new purchase. This will give you time to decide if you really need it and where you will keep it. Making purchases of items you “want” rather than “need” will increase your clutter.
  18. Keep office supplies in one place so that you can easily see what you need to replace.
  19. Use your desk drawer to hold files and papers you use on a daily basis. Use a file cabinet to hold files that are used less frequently.
  20. Keep one relaxing thing in your office. It is important to be able to take a break, even if it is for a few minutes. Keep a picture you like, a fish bowl, a favorite plant or something you can use to watch to replenish your energy.

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