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Office Organization Tips to Help You Work More Productively

By Marisa Sanfilippo
Business.com / Human Resources / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Get ready to increase your output. Quick and easy tips for turning your office into a more organized and productive space.

More than half of the people surveyed in an Express Employment hiring trends survey said they lose nine work hours a week due to lack of organization; 57 percent said they lose six work hours a week because of a lack of time due to disorganization, reported Corp Magazine.

Clutter happens to the best of us you get a report in and it goes on your desk (on top of the several papers already awaiting your review).

You attend a trade show and all those gadgets from the exhibitors you couldn’t resist taking home pile up in the back of a drawer.

What you may not realize is, clutter affects the brain. When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus, cited unclutterer as a paraphrase to a Princeton University study.

Organizing your office does not need to be a big project it’s quite simple when you keep up with it. Here's how to get started.

Create a Weekly and Daily To-Do List

I’ve tried writing down my tasks in a notebook then moved onto a white board. Seeing the amount of tasks together on a single list started to overwhelm me. Despite having deadlines next to each, it was a lot to see hundreds of tasks (on a monthly basis) bulked together.

As a solution, I moved onto a weekly planner and found relief while technically the tasks are still “bunched together,” I’ve broken down my top four or five tasks into daily slots. When I go into the office each day, I focus on my daily tasks. If something comes up and I need to push one back, I erase one task and move it to a different time slot.

Related Article:Chief Executive Organizer: How Business Leaders Can Pave the Way to Productivity Through Organization

“Many people suffer from "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" syndrome. They think that the projects they need to work on are not all spread out on their desk where they can see them, they will forget to do them,” added Sharon Danzger, productivity consultant and founder of Controlled Chaos. “By listing absolutely everything that has to get done (paper or electronic systems both work here) and having a method to prioritize (as simple as 1-2-3 or today, tomorrow, later) you create a map for your workday. As emergencies arise, you re-prioritize, but nothing gets lost.”

Utilize a Junk Box

Similar to a junk drawer that you’d have in your home kitchen, keep a small box under your desk or in a drawer to call your junk box. Anytime you pick up something that doesn’t have a place (that you think you might need) throw it in the junk box. At the end of the month, get rid anything in the box that you haven’t used a few times throughout the month. 

Get Rid of the Office Supplies You Don’t Use

I’m obsessed with Post-it Notes and colored pens. Until recently, I had a container filled with them on my desk. In bringing a third person into sharing my office, something had to budge. I swapped out my larger desk with a smaller one and no longer had room on my desk for stuff I wasn’t using on a weekly basis.

Due to my obsession with the two office supplies, it hurt badly to downsize my collection but knew that others could use them, and I could always refill as needed. What I’m saying is you don’t need a dozen pens and stacks of perfect little Post-it Notes. Keep enough on hand to last you a month or until the next office supplies order. Most of us really only need one or two pens and if you plan on following my to-do list suggestion, a pencil.

Related Article:Clean It Up: Organization Tips to Make Your Space More Productive

Organize the Office Supplies You Do Use and Need

Any place that sells office products will sell desk organizers. I like the ones that go straight into drawers. Every now and then, you’ll come across an original office supply organizer that you’ll want to keep on your desk. Not only will it be functional, but it’ll add character to your space take this Kate Space Zadie Drive Paper Clip Holder or Alessi – Sebastiano Pencil Holder for example, pictured below.  

Paper Clip Holder
Pencil Holder Turtle

Don’t go crazy. One or two of these on-desk organizers will do. Remember, we are trying to de-clutter.

Related Article: How a Good Work Atmosphere Leads to More Success

Leverage Vertical Space

3M Command Hooks may just be one of the best products ever invented in my opinion. I’ve used them to hang my purse, lunch box, and fabric wall organizer, leveraging space I typically did not use.

Organizing consultant, founder and CEO of SoleOrganizer, Jakia Muhammad notes, “Many people fail to realize that utilizing vertical space allows you to leave your desk space looking less crowded.” She suggests getting mini chalkboards or mini dry erase boards to hang from command hooks.

“I love using the boards because it helps to write down daily or weekly reminders and then after you're done they can be erased while also adding to the decor of the workspace,” she added. What other office organization tips have you found helpful? Let me know on Twitter.

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