We are approaching mid-summer and I always find that this is a good time to review of few things in the office so that I can ramp up in the fall. On a quiet Friday afternoon, take the time to review what is working and what is not: are there piles of papers stacked on your desk…on a cabinet or maybe on the floor? Have you let all those samples pile up in the corner? Look on your computer’s desktop: do you have random files just floating around? Or did you download the pictures from your phone and haven’t ‘filed them away’ in a folder?
Take the next few weeks to give yourself some ‘tiny tasks’ that will help you get back on track and GET ORGANIZED!
- Take 15 minutes a day for the next few days and review what is on your computer. Create folders for your client files, personal files, individual children files etc…create a ‘virtual’ filing cabinet
- Make sure that the real paper files mirrors the electronic ones
- Delete un-read newsletters, e-blasts and emails. Clear your spam folder out.
- With the stuff on your desk and on the floor (you know there is stuff on the floor, you can’t fool me), place like items together: samples, filing, supplies, unopened mail
- Now sort through each pile quickly. Limit the amount of time that you are going to review each item. This should be a quick and dirty task – don’t get bogged down with details
- Make space for the items: put them on a shelf, in a container, in the filing cabinet or recycling box.
- Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and use different containers to contain the paper. In this case my client had bulky brochures & samples that needed to be included with the file folder. We used large magazine holders to contain the paperwork.
- Place items that you use together in one area: if you mail-out marketing materials to your clients, stack the brochures by the envelopes, packing material and stamps. This will save you time.
- Also avoid visual clutter by using container that ‘contain’ the mess. Use labels so you know what is inside the box.
When you tackle the desk make sure to take EVERYTHING off the top. Then very deliberately, put only what you use on a daily basis on the desk. This is your prime real estate. That means that you have your laptop/computer, your phone, a writing area and then then a stack of file folders that you would use THAT DAY. That is all you need on your desk…REALLY…
Any supplies (stapler, pens, papers, paper clips) can all go in the drawers nearby or in the cabinets behind the sitting area. If you do not have storage behind you, make sure that you have a small filing cabinet with drawers underneath your desk. Limits are extremely important when you are trying to stay organized.
Lastly, I encourage you to maintain your space once you have it organized. It usually takes less time to do that on a daily basis, then to let it go to pot and then have to take a whole day off to clean it up. If you want more ideas about home office organization, I encourage you to read this post about tackling a small space. Good luck and have fun Organizing!
Margarita Ibbott of Downshifting – Professional Organizing Solutions is a Professional Organizer, Speaker, Blogger, wife and mother of three. She brings order to people, places and things and then blogs about it.
Through her second love, social media training with LinkedLearning.ca, she continues on her quest to keep evangelizing brands, companies, people and products using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogging. Her most interesting adventures brought her to Chicago to be a LiveBlogger for Oprah’s Life Classes (not once but twice).