2 March, 2020
Tips For Staying Organized At Work
Staying organized at work will make your workday a whole lot easier. I’m not just talking about cleaning up around your work station or desk, either. Organization can come in many shapes, forms, and sizes, and not everyone works in an office.
A Place for Everything
And everything in its place. I know we’ve all heard this saying, and you probably did an eye-roll when you read it. But they’re some good “words to live by.” (Sorry, couldn’t help myself)
When you have things put away, and you know where it lives when you’re not using it, you can find it back so much easier. For instance, if you keep all of your User Manuals on the same shelf or box, you can go right to them the next time your fax machine or the coffee pot acts up. You don’t have to spend precious time looking for that manual for the security cameras when you could be writing a post for your website.
Our time is important to us, well at least it is to me. And if we have the items we use the most, located in the closest and easiest places to access, we can go straight to them. But if they’re located under a pile of dirty laundry or behind a stack of paperwork, we won’t find right away. Precious time is wasted looking for what we need. Or even better, if you’re like me, if I misplace something, and in my search for that item, I get sidetracked when I find something I was looking for last week!
A place for everything and everything in its place.
Things Disappeared Never to Be Seen Again
I know, I mentioned not everyone works in an office, but for example sake, I would like to talk about how to keep an office organized for right now.
My last job was a nightmare when I moved into the mess my predecessor left behind. There was paperwork stacked up on every surface. Paperwork that hadn’t even been looked at for ages. Some of it dated back for several years. I’m not kidding. It was horrifying! I have no idea how she was able to get any work done, much less even find what she was working on. Even the dust was dusty. It was so unclean. The photo below isn’t an actual photo of the office, but this is a very close example.
There was absolutely no way for me to even think about where to start when I walked into that mess called an office for the first time. I just wanted to pull up the dumpster and start all over. But of course, that wasn’t an option, so the first thing I did when I moved in was to take everything off the work surfaces and clean off the desk. I placed all the paperwork into boxes and cleaned the items I planned to keep, such as the stapler, phone, keyboard, monitors, etc. The next step was to go into the supply cabinet and get some file folders and stands to place files. As time allowed, I went through the boxes of paperwork and either placed items in working files, storage, or the shredder.
Items that were used daily were placed next to the computer or phone, depending on what they were used for. Then items that were used on a weekly and monthly basis were placed in storage containers such as baskets and file drawers or cabinets.
Two businesses were being accounted for in this office, and they needed to be separated from each other as well. I find that if you are doing accounting for multiple businesses, you need to have only one out and in front of you at a time. At least if that’s possible, sometimes it can’t be avoided, so be careful you don’t enter the wrong information into the wrong company.
Using file stands and well-marked file folders are essential if you want to keep organized on your workspace. Filing items by distance in drawers and cabinets, away from you according to how often you use them, is also a time saver. At the end of the month/year, you have to take that paperwork and file it away for the amount of time delegated. Don’t just keep adding to it, year after year. I think that is what happened initially been with that fire hazard, and it just got to be too much for her to attempt a clean-up day.
I don’t have the room for something like this right now. But when I do, you can bet this is the kind of storage I will installing along the walls of my craft room. I would like to have everything so that it can be seen, but still, put “in its place.” Something like this is ideal because items can be viewed and are out of the way. Much of my ideas come from looking at things and imagining what I can do with them. I think that’s why it takes me so long in the craft store. I get sidetracked looking at items and seeing what I can turn them into.
There are also some beautiful cabinets that I have seen where you can store hundreds of items, fold up the doors, and they are “put away.” These are wonderful if you have guests and don’t want them playing with your supplies. My goal is to have a huge room set aside just for my supplies, where I can work, then when I’m done for the day, I can just shut the door. But like I said, that’s a goal and will have to stick with storage boxes and cabinets for now.
I have heard studies of people that are organized in their workspace are happier and more productive. I should hope so. They’re able to find their work and do it rather than looking for it. LOL! Supervisors tend to look upon those with a clean workspace as being better workers as well. I believe that if one takes pride in the space, they work in, they are more likely to take pride in their work. I’m not saying that you should clear your desk of everything. If you do that, what are you working on? You should also have a daily planner or calendar to keep track of things that need doing. If everything is out of sight, then it’s also likely out of mind. That article that was due yesterday might not get done because you put it away and didn’t keep track of when it was due. So, check your schedule each day to see what needs doing.
Before You Quit For the Day
When your day complete, you need to put away your work. If you walk into a clean space the next day, you will feel better about going to work. No one wants to sit down to a mess first thing in the morning. You don’t have to finish what you’re working on each day if you run out of time. If you can leave yourself at a stopping point and still put the work away in the top drawer of your desk, do it. That way, when you come, the next day, it’s right there to do first thing, but your space still looks clean and is ORGANIZED.