Eight Easy Steps to a More Organized Desk

Consider the current statistics: The use of office paper has tripled since the birth of the computer. The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day (6 weeks per year) looking for misplaced things. Then there is the 21% of Americans who have missed vital work deadlines due to clutter. Nearly half say that disorganization causes them to work late at least twice a week. We are all overwhelmed by paper. The first and most important place to get organized is your desktop – where you earn your living and spend the majority of your day. Don’t panic – it’s easier than you think. Here are a few painless steps to reduce the clutter and restore efficiency to your workplace. 1. Take an inventory of your work area. Make stacks of items you use daily, weekly, or once in a while to begin the process of prioritizing. Get rid of old mail, publications, coffee cups, and those gag gifts you never really liked anyway. Put reference materials on a bookshelf, and be sure to handle or shred all confidential documents carefully. 2. Create a standing desktop file rack for current projects. You can file the folders alphabetically or separate them by color based on priority, then alphabetically within each color-coded section. Learn more about how to streamline your workspace from lifehacker.com

3. Develop a drawer hierarchy. Most desks have shallow drawers on top for storing office supplies. If you don’t have one, get a simple divider system and use it to store pens, paper clips, Post-It notes, etc. Into your desk’s file drawer should go those files that require frequent access. Remember that the closer the drawer is to you, the greater its importance.

The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day looking for misplaced things—that’s 6 weeks per year! 4. Create a filing-system workflow. Designate areas of file storage to be dealt with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. On your desktop, create a system that flows from left to right – starting with your in-box, moving to a central box for processing, and then to your out-box on the right. Expert Tip:  Keep your desktop clean, and your business safe, by shredding outdated confidential documents. To be truly compliant, use a shredding console, like the one Corodata provides. 5. Keep less frequently used files at a distance. Those files you only need periodically can be stored in filing cabinets, or at a records storage center like Corodata. If you can move some files off-site, you’ll free up even more space to enhance your office environment. 6. Aim to handle documents only once. You’ll be amazed how much time this saves you in the long run. If you’ve pulled an existing file to review past information, return it to its proper place immediately. 7. Decorate judiciously. Once you’ve done the work of getting so organized, don’t race to cover every shelf and surface with more clutter. Add a plant, photos, or artwork. But be selective and choose items that promote creativity and productivity. When in doubt, repeat the mantra “Less is more.” 8. Devote one day a month to maintaining your organized desktop. Then sit back and enjoy the praise you’ll start hearing from colleagues, bosses, and clients about how efficient and productive you are! An organized workspace shows strong management skills and the ability to multi-task without chaos. With a little daily discipline, you’ll find you will actually anticipate arriving at your office with enthusiasm instead of dread. But don’t obsess. Remember that Voltaire advised, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” We can only imagine what his desk looked like. Next: Seven Proven Ways to Turn your extra “storage space” into Profits