6 Easy Ways to Organize Your Work Space

If you’re constantly shuffling through stacks of paper or looking around for your favorite pen, chances are it’s time to get a grip on your workspace. Here are six simple steps to reducing uncertainty in your space and providing you with the chance to improve your efficiency.

To better tame your physical workspace, consider the following suggestions:

1) Consolidate. Do you keep some pens in a cup and some in the pencil drawer? Get rid of the cup. Is it a keepsake? Take it home. Stuff gathered in a cup is tidy, but visually jarring. Use the pencil drawer and take back the desk real estate previously assigned to the cup. How about post-its? Binder clips? Paper clips? If you’re flipping from spot to spot to find the right supplies, they’re too spread out and need to be gathered and tamed, all in one spot.

2) Stop Stacking! A pile of papers that represent one document is daunting. A stack of papers that represent several projects is a mess. Stand up metal dividers are a great investment for anyone handling a large amount of paper. Either put those projects in folders or flag them with a post-it that can be easily viewed from one end of the divider. Even better, put them in a drawer with a file tab. Now when you’re ready to tackle the project, you don’t need to shift things around to get to it!

3) Make the Important Visible. Are you gathering long-term data on a project or prospect? Be sure to keep that project within your field of attention by keeping it visible. Brightly colored and boldly labeled folders are a great asset in your stand up metal divider to help you stay focused on projects that need long term attention.

4) Carry a Notebook. There’s a great deal of conflicting advice on the value of a to-do list. For some of us, the day can’t get rolling without such a list; for others, it’s just another burden. However, using a notebook to jot down tasks, ideas and sudden inspirations canĀ free up mental space for more complex tasks, thus helping you organize your current and future workload.

To better tame your electronic workspace, these ideas may be helpful:

5) Dedicated Email Folders. The ability to drag and drop is a tremendous gift. If you’re collecting input from several people on a project, make certain your subject line is easily recognized and move everything on that project into a dedicated folder in your email in-box. Once you’ve got all the input, you can start your review easily.

6) Calendars Are For Appointments, Not Projects. If you get an email about a project due at the end of the week, do not drag it to your calendar to pop up as a reminder, no matter how fast or convenient that may seem. For one thing, you clog up your calendar for people trying to make appointments with you. Secondly, the subject line displays make your calendar indecipherable at a glance, so you have to puzzle out what those appointments truly are. If you want to use the email on your calendar, use it to block out a chunk of time to work on the project. This gives you dedicated work time and an easily visible subject.

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