1. Purge: There’s probably a lot of unnecessary stuff taking up your valuable office space. Go through your office and get rid of duplicates and anything you no longer use/need. When you are left with only necessary items, you will know how much space you will need to organize those things.
2. Re-configure your space: If you have to get up every time you need to throw something away or put a file back in its proper place, your floor will likely be your new trash can/file storage. Arrange furniture so that the things you use can easily be accessed and put back in their proper places.
3. Keep necessary items within reach: In this electronic age, you probably don’t need white-out sitting on top of your desk, not does your pen cup need to house every writing implement you own. Align the items on your desk, making those that you use most, closest. Things like your phone, computer, stapler, a few pens, etc. should all be within arm’s reach for easy access. Those supplies that you use less frequently can be tucked away into drawers, leaving your desk less cluttered.
4. Employ a filing system: Piling papers on the floor is not an effective filing method. There are a lot of different systems that work. Some people file alphabetically, some by project, and others by client, but a filing cabinet is key. Find the system that works best with how you think and work, so it will be easy to maintain.
5. Archive files you don’t need: Files from years ago don’t need to live in your immediate space. Store files you aren’t using in a different location, so it doesn’t clutter up your workspace. If you have a lot of old files, consider using a scanning and storage company to maintain those files at an off-site location.
6. Keep track of ‘To-Dos’: Whether you are a technical kind of person, or prefer pen and paper, having a running To-Do list is important so things don’t fall through the cracks. Separate your tasks into categories, by project or client, and list out all deadlines and important dates associated with those tasks.
7. Stay on top of communication: One of the worst things you can do is ignore communication from others. Make time each day to check and answer emails and phone messages. Doing this once in the morning and once in the afternoon gets the task done and doesn’t disrupt your work flow.
8. Organize your Inbox: Being electronically organized is just as important as being physically organized. Create different folders and subfolders in your Inbox for clients and projects. That way, when a new email comes in you can act on it, then file it in its appropriate e-folder.
9. Personalize your workspace: Whether you’re in a cubicle, home office, or shared workspace, having touches that make you feel comfortable put you more at ease in your work environment. Put up pictures of loved ones, awards and honors you’ve received and even little knick-knacks. Make sure not to over-do it though, or your space will begin to look professional.
10. End of the day rituals: Coming in each morning to a pile on your desk starts the day off on the wrong foot. When you’re done working for the day, leave 15 minutes to update your to-do list and put the things that you’ve been using in their proper places. This will give you a sense of accomplishment for that day and start the next day off with a clean slate.