The seasons are changing and thoughts of Spring cleaning are in the air! It’s a great opportunity to tidy up things at the office as well. Here are a few tips:
Clear away everything within arm’s reach except for things you need immediately. Extra office supplies, papers, cups, etc. need to find a home out of the periphery. Having that space and openness will reduce stress and feelings of overwhelm.
Keep a basket or drawer for short-term storage. Even the most organized among us sometimes (or often) need a staging area – a place to put things that need attention, just not this second. Know yourself and your habits. If you tend to need that type of short-term storage, designate a space for it and make sure to set a schedule to keep it from accumulating.
Streamline Your Desktop Icons. You may be surprised by how a tidy screen greeting you first thing in the morning will help start your day on a positive note. A screen cluttered with icons will trigger your stress hormone and make it impossible to find anything. Often we drop things onto our desktop to make it easy to find and then it ends up on the desktop forever. Take a few minutes and file those things away and leave only the few desktop icons that make your work life easier. While you are at it, you also might want to clear all those sticky notes from your monitor!
Disinfect Regularly. Even if you’re neat, you still need to prevent the build-up of dust, dirt, food stains or fingerprints. Plus, making this a regular habit will also give you the opportunity to tidy up loose papers and lingering trash.
Create A Daily Paper System. There is no such thing as a ‘paperless office.’ If you work at a desk, chances are you are inundated with papers regularly – and that may also be the case if you don’t work at a desk. The more of a system you can organize, the less overwhelmed you’ll be and the easier it will be to keep things in order. Try labeling hanging files or baskets ‘To Read,’ ‘To Do,’ ‘To File,’ etc. Establish set days to clear out each, so that you don’t get behind or feel the overwhelming need to do everything at once. Have a place designated for ongoing projects so they don’t get lost in the archives. This way you’ll know where everything is and what requires your attention first.
Clear out and organize your E-Mail. Just looking at that number of unopened messages can send you into overwhelm. So many of us mark messages as unread as a reminder system, but that leads to digital clutter – with the same stresses we get from physical clutter. Set up files in your inbox for different projects or tasks. Some mail programs even allow you to set up task reminders to follow up on emails.
Limit the amount of stuff. Once you have an idea of how much stuff you need, whether it’s books, office supplies, files, etc., institute a ‘one in, one out’ policy. Pass along books you no longer need, recycle paperwork that is no longer useful or necessary, limit the number of pens and pencils, etc.
Sort Your Catch-All Drawer. Taking a few moments to organize your ‘catch-all’ drawer will reap stress-reducing benefits. Use drawer dividers to give everything a place – and only keep what you will be likely to use in the next few months.