Organizing your office helps you to simplify, streamline, and focus.
One of the best ways to get motivated to work is to start first by getting your office organized. In fact, it is one of the easiest and most simple ways to kick off your daily productivity, especially when you’re feeling stuck and unmotivated in your space. If you struggle with productivity at work, it might be time to organize your office.
My clients often ask me about the best ways to keep their offices organized.
Here are some great tips that make up my most common answers…
Use TSSI organizing personality style type and personal preferences
If you’re curious about what your dominant personal style preference might be, I invite you to take the time and space style inventory to find out!
The time & space style inventory is the premier productivity inventory available today. It helps you uncover your natural behavior that can either really help or hinder your ability to stay organized in any spaces you occupy.
Learning your natural preferences and what makes you tick will help you stay organized for good since your personality preferences rarely change.
Arming yourself with information leads to higher awareness and self-knowledge. Since being productive has a lot to do with how you spend your time and make decisions it always helps to know more about what is natural to you already.
Consider organizing advice systems and products that help manage and support your natural style preferences before purchasing. after you’ve taken the inventory for yourself. When you’re ready, here are my top 25 tips that can be very helpful to keep your office organized.
1. Clean out each desk drawer
To free up valuable storage space, start with your desk drawer. Start by spreading out a big sheet or blanket on the floor. This provides an open workspace. Then, dump the drawer onto the sheet. Looking at the entire contents at once will help you determine what to discard and coordinate what is left. When you purge unwanted items, reappoint your drawer and organize the items so you can find what you need easily. Since each item will have a home, it simplifies returning items after you use them.
2. Create a style-savvy storage system
When your systems match and support your organizing personality style preferences, they’re easier to maintain. Good systems make room for essential items, most used supplies, and the tools you need on your desktop (computer, phone, fax, card file).
3. Individual Inboxes
If you work with more than one person, create an inbox for each person. Keeping your office organized means working to support each person who works inside an office space, so creating a separate space for each person will help you manage the incoming paper flow!
4. Master List
Create a master to-do list for each day at your desk. Highlight your most essential, important tasks to complete daily.
5. Mail Sorting Center
Set up a mail sorting center in your office. Some people considert this a paper processing center. A working systme helps you sort incoming mail over the trash before you bring it to your desk. The center could contain a shredder and a sorting container with a mailbox per person.
6. Use containers
Containers (even recycled options) are great to organize office supplies, paper clips and pens. Containerizing was first coined by Julie Morgenstern in her book Organizing from the Inside Out. Containerizing helps you group like items together by aesthetic or by function in one location.
7. Try Vertical Sorting
If you pile papers everywher and an ‘Everything Out’ organizing personality type, keep your office organized by using vertical desktop organizers. Also known as stadium files these sorters allow you to layer your items so you can put your hands on them instantly. Additionally, acrylic desk-top trays can help you organize your papers on top of your desk. This tip is especially helpful for those who score high as a dominant ‘Everything Out’ organizing style preference.
8. Zone Your Space
Create a separate area/file for personal paperwork, items, etc. To keep your office organized, everything does need a location or address where it resides.
9. Banker Boxes for Outdated Files
One major barrier to keeping your office organized is keeping outdated files inside your active storage spaces. Archiving your dated files is an instant way to feel more organized and ease up much-needed storage space. To quickly clear up storage space, sort files to clear anything outdated, redundant or found elsewhere.
10. Repurpose boxes
To keep your office organized and clutter-free, use magazine boxes to store booklets, magazines, catalogs you want to keep for retrieval. As the online revolution has exploded, many people have turned to online versions of their favorite magazines and newspapers. But if you have some favorites that you cannot part with, find storage boxes that you can use to give them a like-with-like home.
11. Action Files
Create Action Files to stay organized and for those tasks repeated frequently. Action files can help you stay organized by grouping like tasks together in file folders. Action files can also be repeated as electronic file names to help you manage your tasks and projects.
12. Tickler Files
Use a Tickler File (1-31) to organize action items by the due date. A tickler file helps you keep your tasks organized by date. Some tickler file folder names work better when labeled by a week of the month (week 1, week 2, week 3, etc.) , or days of the week (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) if your work lends itself to a cyclical schedule.
13. Use Color
Color-code your files by type to make it easier to find information. Color coding works very well for both Everything Out and Nothing Out Style Preferences. Thinking of color-coding your files? Be sure to use color to distinguish your file categories so your files make intuitive sense at first sight.
14. Don’t Overload
Do not overstuff folders. It may be time to toss some information in your folders. If you have a backlog of full files, set aside one day per month to catch up and purge your back files one file at a time until you’re caught up!
15. Stick To Capacity
Never overload filing drawers – retrieval becomes too difficult. Weed those bursting files out! At a minimum, review your filing and clean out your cabinets annually to maintain capacity.
16. Sub-divide larger files
Another key to organizing your office is to subdivide your hanging folders with interior file folders. Especially if you have different categories of information within files. Smead makes wonderful products to help!
17. Use Tabs
Place tabs on hanging file folders on the front of each hanging folder. Studies have shown that it is faster to find your files when hanging tabs are planned in a straight line.
18. Batch Your Tasks
Return calls in batches. Leave specific messages and the time you called if the person you’re trying to reach isn’t available. Phone calls can take up so much time, so when possible, preschedule return calls with others.
19. Clean Slate
Empty your workspace of everything but the project you’re working on. This ‘surface clearing’ helps those who are easily distracted to minimize visual distractions and get started sooner.
20. Steal a Feel
Some days are better than others. It’s always helpful to have a “Feel Good” file of personal notes and mementos on hand when you’re having a bad day. This is a great place to store mementos and things that life your mood.
21. Friendly Greetings
Keep all-occasion cards and stamps in your desk, or close at hand. When someone does something really good, send that person a card.
22. Take-Out Menus
Keep a list of favorite takeout menus easy to find by using an online data repository and retrieval app like Evernote, Dropbox, or Drive. You can easily create files for everything you need to combine your tasks into one trip and make life easier.
23. Digital System
Creating a working digital filing system is as important as organizing your stuff. Mirror your e-file names to your paper file names to keep information consistent. Decide which need to be renamed, then organize them similarly.
24. Only Keep What You Need To Retrieve
At the end of each project or event, organize paperwork for retrieval only. This means you should only keep what you’re going to need to find and reference via paper again.
25. Weekly Reset Creates Equilibrium
Check your schedule and straighten your desk at the end of your week. This way, you can start each week under control and feel most productive.
There are many small and simple ways to get your office organized to help you stay organized at home. How many of these office organizing tips will you try?
Sane Spaces Professional Organizing & Productivity Consulting Services helps small business owners increase productivity and minimize wasted time by designing efficient and productive home, work and paper management systems – eliminating disorganization at its source.
Have you wondered what your time organizing style personality type is? Learn all about your Organizing Personality Style with the Time & Space Style Inventory. If your office is disorganized and you’d like to help, take the Time & Space Style Inventory (TSSI) to get started.
The Time & Space Style Inventory™ (TSSI™) evaluates your time style preferences and how you manage priorities, attend to details, and take action. By learning your dominant and strong style preferences, you can make the most of your time and choose to take actions that increase flow in your life.