Organize Your Office by Regina Lark
- Stop the work day 30 minutes before “clocking out” to put away supplies, file loose papers, clear the desk.
- Instead of lined notepads that are scattered about your office, use a spiral notebook for all meeting notes, phone messages, notes to self, “to do” lists, etc.
- Keep only essential desk items on the desk (e.g., tape, stapler, pens, spiral notebook).
- Do not start the work day by answering email. Instead prioritize the day with a “to do” list and start to work on taking care of most important tasks.
- Pre-sort mail (read, file, toss, give to grad student or admin to handle).
- At the end of each project, file all project related materials in a drawer or box. This includes your courses at the end of a semester.
- Block out time to return calls in batches. Be sure to leave the best time/number for person to return your call.
- Do not bring back to your office every handout from every meeting unless it is pertinent to what you’re doing. For example, when you’re at a conference, you do not have to bring back every single handout from every single session you attended. Recycle right at the hotel before you check out.
- Keep only enough office supplies in your desk that you will need for only a month. You can always restock.
- De-clutter “sent” email folders and “delete” email folders at least once per week. Alphabetize the emails to see at a glance what can be quickly deleted or filed.
This list represents 10 new habits which will help you become more organized. It takes at least 21 days of consistent behavior to create a new habit. The key to staying organized at the office (or any place!) is to always be mindful about what works for you and what does not.
© Regina Lark, Ph.D., is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. For free tips and techniques to deal with your area of clutter, email a photo of the problem area, or visit her website for more information on how to clear your path: A Clear Path: Professional Organizing for Home, Work, Life
My belief is that we all have more control than we think we do…at least over those items that I’ve listed above. Be thankful for the control you have and use it in a productive manner.
And if you liked these tips you may be interested in the Get a Plan! Guide® to Ridding Your Workspace of Clutter part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion.