Do you ever find yourself spending longer than necessary trying to find a certain file? Do you often spend ages searching through all the paper on your desk just to find the stapler you swear you just had? If the answer to either of these questions is ‘yes’, you aren’t being as productive as you can be.
Prestige Recruitment Group understand the importance of being productive – which is why we’ve written five top tips to help you organise your office workspace, which in turn, organises you.
1) Delete. Bin. Purge.
The first thing you should do when organising yourself is completely purge your workspace. If you have tonnes of paper files hanging around your desk and clogging up your draws, it’s absolutely imperative that you throw out (or recycle!) as much as you can.
Our advice for this is:
If you haven’t touched something in the last six months, recycle it.
If you have two copies of one file, recycle one.
If you have electronic copies of the documents that are taking space up on your desk, recycle them!
As well as physical copies, be sure to work through your electronic documents too. Have the same document twice? Delete one! We often save files more than once with titles such as ‘Spreadsheet New,’ ‘Spreadsheet New New’ and this really isn’t necessary! Delete your old files so everything on your computer is updated and relevant.
Getting rid of unnecessary documents and papers will give you more space to think and means that you will be able to find the documents you actually need much quicker.
2) Organise The Things You’re Keeping
So now you’ve deleted everything you don’t need, which means you have a clearer head – fabulous. Now, you need to organise the files and documents that you’re keeping. This includes digital documents as well as physical copies.
On your computer, use folders! Colour-code them if you can. Make sure every item has a folder and a place so that you can easily find the certain document you need when it comes to it. Rename any documents you have that might be misleading.
It might also be a good idea to sort through your emails and organise everything into folders within outlook too. A great way to organise things this way is to empty your inbox by sorting each completed task/email into a separate folder – this way, you can see what you need to do as it’s sat in your inbox!
Once you’ve organised your documents into folders, make sure that you back up all of your documents onto a memory stick or hard drive, or use an online system like dropbox or a cloud! Going forward, you should get into the habit of backing up your files every evening so that you won’t lose everything if your computer breaks.
With physical documents, you may want to sort the paperwork that you have into different coloured folders for each month. This makes it easier to trace back to documents that you may need in the future.
3) Develop a Labelling System
Linking into organising your existing files, you should also come up with a thorough labelling system. It’s imperative that you format all of your documents a certain way, as this will make it easier when it comes to finding a file that you need. A great way to do this is to label each document with the month you are creating it and a title, which thoroughly describes what’s exactly in the document. There isn’t actually one linear way you should do this, but ensure whatever labelling system you use is easily maintained.
By having a labelling system, you will be able to find documents easily without having to worry about what you might have called it. This means you’re wasting less time trying to find what you called those reports!
4) Make a Schedule
The best way to stay organised at work is to write everything down that you need to do and stick it into a calendar. This way you know exactly how many things you need to do a day, and it will stop unproductivity. When you are more organised with your time, more things get done.
Write agenda’s or lists of people you need to call back and add that list to your schedule for the day. Tick things off once you’ve completed them, because it will make you feel more productive, which actually makes you more productive!
5) Ritualise Your Day
Linking slightly to our previous point, it is vital that you have a schedule that fits into a ritualised day. If your job allows, only check your emails two/three times a day as this ensures that you don’t get distracted every time a mailer or unimportant email comes through and flashes up on your screen.
Having an organised workspace isn’t a one-and-done thing; it is something that should be maintained every day in order to ensure you stay on top of things. Devote 15 minutes a day to go through all your documents from the day and check everything is organised and where it should be. If you haven’t had a chance to sort through your papers throughout the day, do it before you go home. This way, every morning, you have already sorted all your documents, emails and information. This ensures a clean, fresh, organised start and you can start being productive immediately.
When you decide to get organised, some things may take slightly longer, especially if you have a backlog of information that needs sorting. Don’t expect organisation to be an overnight fix - you have to work at it. Once you have sorted it, it should be easy to maintain. If you're interested in the importance of your workspace, check out our other blog 'The Digital Workspace and the Physical Workplace.'
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