I am sure your desk has seen better days. Wobbling stacks of your live at work and home – papers and notes and files and more stuff to follow-up and receipts scribbled memos from your customers requests to their phone numbers.
If you leave it as it is, you would be lost in the thick of the clutter, hyperventilating, wasting annoying hours looking for that specific note, forgetting the datelines promised, and looking lost every single day coming into the office. In other words, you are most probably overwhelmed, overloaded and heavily disorganized.
So, in order to get you out of trouble, here’re a few tips that would get your desk decluttered again, back to the way it was!
Understand Paper Flow
You should first understand how and where papers and e-mails and stuff get into the office and what needs to happen to them, and how they’ll leave the office. What’s working? Where would the papers get stuck? A lot of times, the problem starts with you having no idea what to do with the things that come to you, and then not having time for them.
Create A System
This is where creating a system only you can understand for handling the stuffs that come in, and setting a timetable for them, while still having time to deal with your everyday work. It is important to know that most paper has an expiration date. So, whether you’re picking up stuff from the wobbling pile, or opening the latest mail, it is wise to think of your paper in three different ways:
- Active: These are the stuff that usually stays at the number one spot of your list, or gets stuck right in the middle of your desk. Maybe an RSVP to your friend’s wedding, or a note of an appointment with your customer. Once it’s done, it’s right into the bin. For example, if you get a wedding invitation, most people might set it down and say, ‘Oh, congratulations.’ But if you have the habit of using an inflow-outflow system, you will be putting the invitation straight away in your calendar and note it. Then when you have RSVP’d, you can decide to whether to archive it or toss it away, so it saves your desk some space.
- Action: Next is the “Action” way where stuffs that may take longer before you attend to them kept in a file on your desktop. Perhaps, it serves as a reminder for the tasks you have at hand; your car’s road tax or the product you promised your customer for delivery within the week. And once they come due, you either toss it away or archive them.
- Archive: This is the place where you store the papers that you wouldn’t even look at anymore for the time being or as often as you used too, but want to make sure that they’re easily accessible in case of a zombie apocalypse. Be it on your desktop, a filing cabinet or even on cloud drives, like Google Drive or Dropbox.
Now for me myself, I am using every Monday for planning and organizing, allowing me a good hour or 2 to start. By giving yourself time to settle in the day, you will start to notice your patterns and you can then start setting up a system that works solely for you. Now, I am not saying to get everything planned out in that time, but to look at it as a long term investment for creating your own productive workflow. In short, try to prioritize urgent needs to the less urgent ones.
So, are you in for a clutter-free desk? Do you want to come into office with a great smile or would you like to step in your office everyday like you’re walking through the entrance of hell everyday? If you want to work for the better, start prioritizing your needs and create a paper flow system!
What are your strategies or ways for making sure your office space boosts your productivity and makes you feel at home? Share with us below. =)