We all know that mess and disorganisation are the enemies of productivity. It is difficult to achieve and maintain any level of focus if you are surrounded by clutter, constantly having to search through piles of paper or unkempt drawers to find the object or file you need. Walking into a messy office instantly puts you in a bad mood, and the longer you spend there and the more difficult it is to work the more stressed out you will get. By the half way through the day it is likely that you’ll feel ready to give up and walk out for good – throwing a lit match over your shoulder as you leave. In a messy office your world becomes an endless round of missed deadlines, lost messages, and unconstructive hours spent staring at a blank screen (or even playing games on Facebook). Fear not, one simple act could change your life! All you need to do is clean and organise your office space – be it a corner office in a corporate suite, a small business office, or even a home office – to instantly feel more at ease and see your productivity rocket. In this article we’ve put together the best tips the internet has to offer for turning your office into a den of tranquillity and productivity.
Start from scratch
Paint your perfect office on a blank canvas; take everything out and start with nothing. You are going to make over your office from the ground up, which means starting out with empty walls, floors and surfaces. Do a deep clean, vacuuming carpet or scrubbing the floor, polishing the desk and filing cabinet, cleaning the windows, and perhaps even applying a lick of paint to the walls. You are going to be ruthless in ripping out unused and unnecessary items, so you might as well start with dirt, dust and grime. When everything is clean, you will instantly feel better and this will help to motivate you to keep things this way.
Before you start to return items to your office, sort through them and group them into things that you use regularly, less often, occasionally, and never (there is sure to be at least one thing you have never gotten round to using and probably never will). Step on: throw out, give away, sell or donate to charity anything that ended up in the ‘never’ pile. Step two: find places for all the items in the regularly used category within easy reach of your computer station. You may want to keep these things on the desk or in a draw close by. Employ drawer dividers to keep smaller items organised and ensure that you can put your hand on what you need instantly. For items that are less regularly used, find tidy storage spaces around the office. Make sure that everything has a proper place to which it is returned immediately after use; you can even use stickers to remind you.
Review your filing system
A great way to create extra storage space is to re-employ or replace your filing cabinet. In this digital age, it is likely that most of the files contained in a paper filing system are duplicates of files stored on your hard drive. In other words, they are surplus to requirement. You do not need to keep reams of paper files in case you one day need to check one. You will be able to access the digital version and print it off if necessary. In all likelihood, you will be able to shred 80% - 100% of the contents of your filing cabinet and never miss them. If you need to, keep one draw of important documents, using the other drawers as extra storage space. If you find you do not need a filing cabinet at all, consider replacing it with a stylish shelving unit, safe, or office drawers.
Don’t let work pile up
Every well organised office should have two essential folders: the Meeting Folder and the WOR (waiting on response) Folder. Any work that you are putting together for a meeting, pitch, presentation or handover should go into your Meeting Folder. This way you will always be prepared and armed with information at the drop of a hat and your desk will not be covered in papers that pertain to upcoming events and discussions. The WOR Folder will contain anything that you cannot move forward on until you receive a response from someone else. Check through this folder every few days to see if there is anything you need to follow up on, but otherwise store t away neatly.
Lastly, a great way to keep things neat and tidy is to use ‘life hacks’. There are literally hundreds of useful hacks to be found on the internet. A quick Google search for office hacks will give you plenty to choose from. A hack is basically a way of using everyday items in novel ways to make life easier and more effective. Some great examples of hacks to help organise an office include using an old cassette case as a mobile phone holder and using binder clips to sort cables.