Organize Your Office [Mission #19]

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Organize Your Office in 30 Minutes

Welcome to Mission #19 of our 52 Get Organized Missions.

If you want to increase productivity, motivation and mental clarity, one of the best things you can do is to create an effective workspace.

So in this mission, we’ll follow 3 steps to transform your work zone into an organized office.

If you’ve completed the previous mission (Get Organized Mission #18: Organize Your Computer in 7 Simple Steps) then you are going to feel super organized after this.

Remember: you only need 30 minutes for the basic mission. Extended Options are below.

If you’re new, you might like to start here: 52 Organizing Missions.

Get Organized Mission #19:
Organize Your Office

Step 1: Ditch the Dispensable (10 minutes)

With only 10 minutes to spend here, my advice is to be ruthless in what you discard – you’ll get more done. But get rid of as much as you feel comfortable with.

Grab our old friends the hu-u-uge trash bag and donation basket and get to work. Items to attack include:

  • School or college notes and texts – unless you just graduated they’re probably out of date
  • Old paperwork, bills, receipts, mail – keep if needed for taxes or reference; shred if confidential
  • Equipment you don’t use – such as a 2-hole punch if you use 3-ring binders
  • Equipment for tasks you now outsource – such as spiral binders or laminating machines
  • Excess stationery you won’t use this decade
  • Knickknacks that provide no meaning, beauty or inspiration
  • Reading piles you know you’ll never get to – and this applies to pretty much every reading pile
  • Books you’ll never read
  • Old computer or software manuals
  • Birthday, Christmas and greeting cards – unless they’re genuinely special to you
  • Outdated printers, scanners, fax machines (check for disposal info with your local council)
  • Defunct phones, computers, cells, PDAs etc (ditto)
  • Abandoned projects and the various accompanying supplies, storage containers, etc
  • Old notebooks not needed for reference
  • Old lamps, chairs and other equipment in poor condition
  • Doubles of staplers, hole punches, scissors, rulers, etc
  • Any item you haven’t used in the past 12 months
  • Anything broken, yucky, tatty, or inconsistent with your professionalism.

Step 2: Archive the Ancient (5 minutes)

If you need to keep client, tax or other files you don’t refer to, move them out of your office. Once you’ve completed this mission, move the files to offsite storage, a garage or an unused closet.

Step 3: Re-allocate the Real Estate (15 minutes)

Organize your remaining office materials according to frequency of use. Think of the area directly around you as prime real estate, and allocate your stuff accordingly.

For example:

  • Computer and diary used daily should be close at hand.
    These deserve a CBD location - like the top of your desk.
  • Current files and stationery used regularly should be conveniently accessible.
    These can live in the suburbs – like desk drawers and handy file cabinets.
  • Archived files and spare toner used rarely can afford to be stored out of the way.
    They belong on the outskirts of your office – like high shelves.

Some people so detest the idea of organizing their offices that they’d rather spend their whole working lives in a chaotic workspace than attempt to create order. Don’t let this be you!

If you’re willing to move as fast as you can, and follow these steps, you’ll enjoy a tremendous boost to your confidence, productivity and even your mood. And so you should. Well done!

Now, sit back in your chair and survey your office. Can’t you just feel the motivation surge?

Dos & Don’ts

  • Don’t make the mistake of having rarely-used items close to hand. Save the most valuable space for the items that contribute most to your work and productivity.
  • Do be ruthless in eliminating anything that doesn’t support you in producing good work. Every item costs you in mental clutter and distraction, so if it’s not helping you, let it go.

Extended Organizing Mission Options

Want to go beyond this 30-minute organizing mission?

  • If you want to make this into a major mission, take everything out of your file cabinets, drawers and shelves, complete steps 1 and 2, and then replace everything using the storage principles from step 3. Have some great music on your iPod to add a little fun to the exercise.

Ready, Set, Go!

Remember – move quickly, act fast, don’t overthink.

Before You Go – Please Check In

Once you’ve completed this week’s Get Organized Mission please add a comment to let us know you’ve done your assignment and you’re keeping your commitment.

And see you back here next week!

Did You Know

You can get your weekly organizing mission delivered to your inbox.
Click here to sign up for 52 Organizing Missions.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeyparsons/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

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Kim Huffman says:

slightly disappointed to see nobody has signed in since Nov 2011. Here goes anyway, tomorrow I am attacking my work desk!!!

Julia O'Connor says:

this was very interesting, a lot of things needed working on.

Joan says:

Done

@Heather! Great work! YOU deserve the praise for making the commitment and making the changes you want. ☼☼☼ Keep it up Heather!

My small office desk of two drawers is complete. Drawer one envelopes and phone books.
Drawer two – sticky tape, hard drive storage and a couple of needed leads and phone case. Need to add a pen.
It is really something I had intentions to do. Although that is not good enough to have intentions. Thank you again and again.
Heather

MM says:

About to start mssion #19 – looking forward to the results…..

It would be best to work efficiently if you feel at ease and you do not see anything that is not in order.
http://www.sanantonioshredding.com
We can be productive and practical at the same time, we just need the proper guidelines to do so and we have to maintain this effort all throughout.

joanie says:

I had been orginizing my computer files at long last and was thinking “I really will get my office organized” – and procrastinating I opened my emails and there was your Organize your Office email. Hah! synchronistic or what?

Well, I just went for it and it was done very quickly. I love my files now and I know where everything is. I only have 2 files now on my desk (instead of about 15). I think there is a possibility I might even get anal about it all. lol

Lady GA GA helped, thank you both! Joan

Theresa says:

So neat….so orderly………sooooo functional!

Lauren says:

Didn’t really need to do this one. But useful for thinking about it going forward.

Lauren says:

Didn’t really need to do this one. But useful for thinking about it going forward.

Joey says:

Done ! Yay.

Joey says:

Done ! Yay.

Hi Yaya,

I’m not sure what you mean. You’ve left a comment on the blog, which is public.

Do you mean the forums? The public forums are public to view, but you need to register to comment (to weed out spammers).

The private forums are for customers.

Let me know if that helps!

M :)

Hi Yaya,

I’m not sure what you mean. You’ve left a comment on the blog, which is public.

Do you mean the forums? The public forums are public to view, but you need to register to comment (to weed out spammers).

The private forums are for customers.

Let me know if that helps!

M :)

Yaya says:

I have tried several times to access your blog, but cannot. I wondered if I have to buy a product in order to go to your blog? Just curious. Thanks.

~ Yaya
Yaya’s Changing World

Yaya says:

I have tried several times to access your blog, but cannot. I wondered if I have to buy a product in order to go to your blog? Just curious. Thanks.

~ Yaya
Yaya’s Changing World

Gabriela says:

Hi Michele,

I thought step 2 was the best for me. I liked the bold print for the action words. They certainly caught my attention.
Keep up the great work.
Cheers,
GG

Gabriela says:

Hi Michele,

I thought step 2 was the best for me. I liked the bold print for the action words. They certainly caught my attention.
Keep up the great work.
Cheers,
GG

Michele Connolly's 30 minutes organizing office tips: http://tinyurl.com/yfs9lo2 A lady after my own heart!

Michele Connolly's 30 minutes organizing office tips: http://tinyurl.com/yfs9lo2 A lady after my own heart!

Belinda says:

I was very lucky to have completed this mission a few weeks ago when I purchased a bookshelf to replace an old computer desk. I went through all of my paperwork and culled a few drawers of paper files. Now I only need half of an archive box that I use in the new bookcase for regularly used files.
Everything else was given to my daughter to “play offices” with her friends, and can be packed up into a toy storage box at the end of the day. It keeps their imagination working, and it’s cheap!! The girls have so much fun.

Belinda says:

I was very lucky to have completed this mission a few weeks ago when I purchased a bookshelf to replace an old computer desk. I went through all of my paperwork and culled a few drawers of paper files. Now I only need half of an archive box that I use in the new bookcase for regularly used files.
Everything else was given to my daughter to “play offices” with her friends, and can be packed up into a toy storage box at the end of the day. It keeps their imagination working, and it’s cheap!! The girls have so much fun.