Do you spend more time looking for documents, your stapler or emails than you do working every day? Do you fail to complete projects in time, to answer emails or phone calls in time and you are feeling lost every day when you are in your workplace? Then it’s time you took control of your workplace and transformed it into a well-organized, serene place, where you can work with joy and increase your productivity!
Follow the steps below and make your life at work easier, less stressful and be the person who saves the day!
1. Clean out your workplace
The first step is to declutter your workplace. Go through all your documents that are lying on your desktop. Go through all your drawers and filing cabinets and get rid of everything you don’t need. Get rid of all the things you are not using. There is no need to keep them “just in case”. They will only take up your office space and make your life more difficult.
2. Organize your desktop
After decluttering your workplace, you are left with things you need. But do you need all of them to be on your desktop? Of course you don’t. Keep only the things you use on daily basis on your desktop. Keep them within your reach and assign each of them a specific place, so that you know exactly where to find them when you need them. Make a habit of putting everything back into its place once you’ve used it. You can put the things you use less often into storage, into a drawer. Also create a place for deep storage, for things you rarely use – ask yourself, do you really need them?
Create a paper workflow system for your incoming documents, so that you don’t end up with various papers lying around your office. You could create an inbox for the documents you haven’t reviewed yet, a box for the documents that you have reviewed and require a specific action (you can divide this box into two or three, according to the action you have to take), a box for the documents that need filing and a trash bin nearby for the documents that you don’t need anymore. This system allows you to have a better picture of the things you have to do. Also, it is very important to assign every document to a specific box, after you have reviewed it. Don’t just leave it on your desktop, decide where you should put it and do it. Be strict to yourself and commit to your system.
Always keep a notepad available on your desktop and a pen. Write everything you need there; don’t create a post-it jungle around you. Post-its maybe fun, but they can easily get lost and they can take too much of your precious workplace. Moreover, they make your desktop look a real mess. Organize your notepad with categories, according to the things you usually write down throughout your day, so that you can easily find a specific note when you need it.
3. Create a filing system
It’s very important to create a filing system according to your needs and your work. You have to use a method that will make everything you need accessible every time you need it. Don’t count on your memory. Count on your system. You can use an alphabetical filing system, you can file everything by date, by client, by project… you have to decide what works for you.
Once you have decided on your filling system, use it! Always file every document once you have completed your work. Don’t leave it on your desktop. Put it in its filling place.
4. Organize your electronic filing
Since we are living in a digital world, most of our work is stored in digital files. The first step here is also decluttering. Get rid of documents you don’t need and once you are left with the useful ones, organize them by files. Extent the filing system you created for your paper documents to your digital documents. It’s more practical to use the same system and easier for you to remember where everything is when you need it.
Also, create a filing system for your emails. This will save you precious time every time you need to find an old email. The projects you are currently working also need their own file and once you’ve finished them, file them away.
5. Manage your time
Once you have created a more friendly work environment, you need to manage your time better, in order to increase your productivity. Making a schedule of your appointments and deadlines is not enough. Estimate carefully how much time each work activity requires and plan your day accordingly. Always have a to-do list and follow it. Use every minute you have. For instance, if you are working on a large project, you can break it down to smaller pieces and fit every piece into your busy schedule.
Avoid having many different to-do lists, for instance one on your phone and one written on paper, or one with your appointments and one with your projects. Always merge all your lists in one. Create one main to-do list that includes everything and stick to it. Also don’t forget to estimate the time you need in-between activities. You have to consider your time carefully and divide it in the most effective way.
6. Finish your day preparing for the next
You probably can’t wait to leave your office at the end of every working day. But before leaving, always take some time to put away the documents you didn’t file earlier, to get rid of the things you don’t need and mainly, create your to-do list for the next day. So, next morning you will arrive at a clean and organized office, ready to seize the day!