8 Tips to Organize Your Office (and Yourself) for Better Productivity

If your workspace is in chaos, you could be losing productivity and your job performance will likely suffer. These eight tips can help you keep it all together and get the most out of each hour of the day.

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Tue, November 26, 2013

CIO — Do you spend more time looking for documents, supplies, emails or your mobile phone charger than you do working? If so, you're losing valuable productivity. However, the good news is getting back on track requires only a little planning, commitment and consistency.

These eight office organization tips culled from the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and Simplify Me Now can help you transform your workspace from stressful to serene, and help boost your productivity by making it easy to find files, documents, supplies, and keep up with ongoing projects and deadlines.

1. Purge Your Workspace

Let's face it. If you're reading this, you're probably struggling to control the chaos that is your workspace. Where to begin?

According to NAPO, the first step is to get rid of the unnecessary stuff taking up your valuable office space. Go through those stacks of papers and get rid of duplicates. Clean out your desk drawers and filing cabinets and throw out (or recycle) anything you haven't used in six months.

When you're left with only necessary items and have removed excess clutter, you can more easily organize what's left.

Improve productivity

2. Rearrange Your Office

Next, evaluate the furniture layout in your newly purged space based on how you work. If you have to get up every time you need to throw something away or replace a file, your desktop and your floor can easily become your trash can/file storage, NAPO says. Arrange furniture, files, and trash receptacles so that they're easy and quick to access.

3. Organize Your Desktop

Keep only supplies and gadgets you need on a daily basis on your desktop, and keep them within easy reach. In today's digital world, you probably don't need to keep an overflowing cup of pens and pencils or bottles of white-out, according to NAPO, but your computer, phone, a few pens, a notepad and a stapler should be within arm's reach.

Patty Kreamer, a certified organizer coach, certified professional organizer, author, speaker and president of www.byebyeclutter.com Kreamer Connect, says to think of it like your circles of friends.

The items you use most should be within reach  your friends. The items you use less often (monthly or periodically) should be near, but you should have to get up to access them -- your acquaintances. The items you rarely or never use, but that you must keep, should be out of your office altogether -- strangers," she says.

Simplify Me Now suggests creating a paper workflow system for any incoming documents. An inbox is for items that haven't yet been reviewed, an in-process box is for items you're working on, and your filing system (see the next tip) or trash receptacles will take care of items as you finish them.

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