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- School or college notes and texts – unless you just graduated they’re probably out of date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- Outdated printers, scanners, fax machines (check for disposal info with your local council)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.
- 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
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Click here to sign up for 52 Organizing Missions.
Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeyparsons/ / CC BY-ND 2.0
29 thoughts on “Organize Your Office [Mission #19]”
Finished! One other task is to get my hubby to move the old computer downstairs so I have more room up there. Then I can finish setting up my sewing table.
These are some great suggestions! One other method that I use to help maintain an organized office is to have a specific place to store paper items (kids beautiful artwork, graded schoolwork, mail that doesn’t need to be handled immediately). Every other week, I file these documents away in their specific homes. It is actually more efficient for me to only do this a few times per month rather than every day. I really enjoyed this article. I will be sharing it via my Simple Better Solutions website. You will be able to view it by clicking on the link below.
Have a great day! Dara
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Need to revamp my entire office & systems!
Cool Sophia! I bet you’ll feel fabulous when you do! 🙂
slightly disappointed to see nobody has signed in since Nov 2011. Here goes anyway, tomorrow I am attacking my work desk!!!
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this was very interesting, a lot of things needed working on.