Feeling sluggish at your desk? Not as productive as you should be? It might not be you—it could be those unwanted “paper pounds” at your workstation holding you down. Unorganized files and paperwork piles not only affect how you work, it can also cost you time—from 16 minutes to 1 hour a day, according to more than half the respondents in a recent study by the National Association of Professional Organizers. Find out how to make a little more time for yourself just by organizing a messy workspace.
Lose that “muffin top” on your desktop
When the paperwork starts to hang over the sides of your desk and you barely have enough room to work on your current projects, it’s time for a desktop diet.
- Take it off - Clearing the clutter isn’t going to happen overnight. Make a schedule to tackle that paperwork—whether it’s a stack a day or a pile a week. Use these “keep or purge” labels to make it easier to sort through your stuff on the spot.
- Keep it off - You’ve cleared the clutter. Now the hard part—keeping it that way! Create a daily checklist to make it easy to stay on task.
Fight the battle of the bulge in your filing cabinet
You file a document here and stuff a folder there. Before you know it, your file drawers are bursting at the seams! Make it a habit to exercise those decision-making skills and trim the fat in your filing cabinets on a regular basis.
- Take it off - Out-of-date files taking up room? If those files haven’t been used in a while, it may be time to do a purge and ship them out! Archive older files into storage and add these “keep until” labels you can customize with expiration dates to your boxes. Check with your company about document retention policies and how to handle confidential data.
- Keep it off - Want to find out which files are the most useful in your filing cabinet? Each time you use a file, freshen up the old file folder label with a new one using Avery File Folder Labels with TrueBlock® Technology. The labels completely cover up what’s underneath so you don’t have to spend time scraping the old labels off. And with these spiffy designs, your file folders will not only look better than ever, you’ll be able to tell apart which files are used often by their updated labels from the files that aren’t. (And since they’re taking up space in your cabinet, they may need to be archived.)
Get mean and keep your inbox lean
Important documents and time-sensitive mail can easily get lost in an overflowing inbox. Make it a goal to reach the bottom of the box every day.
- Take it off - Manage any paperwork that crosses your desk with these four Fs from professional organizer Lissanne Oliver. Then, write a note and attach to your documents so you’ll know what action to take next.
- Finish it: for work that’s currently in progress
- Forward it: what you don’t need, but may be useful for someone else
- File it: documents you’ll need for future reference
- Flick it: paperwork that’s out-of-date, unwanted, or available somewhere else, such as on your computer
- Keep it off - Don’t let time get away from you before you’ve had a chance to tackle your inbox. Block some time in your daily schedule to go through your mail. Make it a habit to reach the bottom of your inbox by the end of the day, and you’ll have a neat and organized desk to look forward to in the morning.
It’s easy to let your workstation get a little out of shape. But organizing your space can improve its overall fitness and improve your performance. And with small, consistent changes each day, you’re on your way to making a difference in a big way.