From stained coffee mugs to stacks of documents, your office space can quickly become cluttered. When you return to the office bright and early Monday morning, keep your momentum with an organized workspace that encourages you to dive in and begin. On January 8, join fellow professionals across the U.S. in National Clean Off Your Desk Day. To help you get organized and keep a tidy space, here are 10 tips for a desk that helps get the job done.
- Root Out Rubbish: Once a week, go through your drawers and toss wrappers, old pens, empty chapstick tubes, or errant debris cluttering your storage. By making a habit of cleaning out unnecessary mess, you’ll save space and be able to find that missing flashdrive in seconds.
- Keep Clean: Keep disinfecting wipes or spray on hand, and wipe down surfaces weekly. During flu season, consider wiping down surfaces daily. Not only will this keep your workspace spick and span, but will prevent germs from spreading.
- Filing Finesse: Alphabetically, by date, color, or in order of priority - consider the endless ways to organize files. Select the method that works best for your work style. However you sort your documents, review them every month or so to ensure that everything is properly placed and that no important records or documents are lost between the files!
- Love Your Labels: Label folders and filing systems with the proper name and date. Take the extra few seconds to properly order each item. Use labels for organized office supplies to ensure paperclips, pens, and stationery stay in the proper place.
- Orderly Drawers: Invest in a drawer organizer to keep office supplies in place. No more scrambling to ferret out a paperclip, or find a forgotten calculator in the conference room-everything has a designated spot!
- Scan and Save: Want to reduce paper clutter and minimize the paper? Scan documents in your computer and save them as PDFs. Not only does this save precious physical office space, it eliminates the risk of losing important documents in the black hole of your bottom drawer.
- Electronic Organization: When tidying your workspace, don’t forget about your computer desktop. Sort every document you create as soon as you hit “save,” and avoid those frantic searches through hundreds of unorganized files. Consider using Dropbox or a backup cloud storage to guarantee important files aren’t permanently deleted.
- Minimize Distractions: The saying “Out of sight, out of mind” is especially true for your workspace. If you find yourself reaching for your cellphone or flipping through magazines during office hours, designate drawer space for things that distract from productivity.
- Designated Dining Space: While we all have days when working through lunch is unavoidable, stick to the kitchen area when dining. Not only will this keep your desk free of crumbs and wrappers, but the change of environment will refresh your mind and help you get back to business rather than lingering over your meal.
- Daily Declutter: Make it a habit to clear away any coffee mugs, candy wrappers, old post-its, and unneeded papers before you go home each day. Set out any materials needed in the morning, and give surfaces a final wipedown. This will leave your desk fresh and clean for the next day, ready for business first thing.
When getting back to work this January, stay focused and organized with everything you need at your fingertips. Save yourself the headache of a disorganized workspace and refresh your desk with these practical 10 tips.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is an award-winning entrepreneur, cross-cultural trainer, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, (3rd printing), was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.