Do you sometimes feel that you could be a little more organised when it comes to your workspace? If so, it could be making you less productive. The more productive you are at work, the more chance you’ll get noticed and prioritised when it comes to career progression. And the secret to becoming more organised is a lot to do with how you utilise the office space around you. Indeed, scientists have proven that the less cluttered your workspace, the more you get done. Your goal should be to make your working environment more efficient, so you can be more efficient in turn.
Your desk – where the magic happens
The average person spends up to 4.3 hours every week searching for paper documents. Just doing that increases stress and reduces concentration. Don’t let that be you. Keep your desk clear at all times, aside from the tools and documents you need to carry out the job you’re currently working on.
It’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ can build up in and around your work area that you think might come in handy – but never does. Broken stationery items, nick-nacks, coins, scraps of paper, cups… the list goes on and on. Dump the lot. You don’t need it! It just sucks your productivity.
Undoubtedly, there’s stuff you use regularly, but that doesn’t have to be to cluttering up your desk while you wait to use it. That’s what drawers are for, so put it away. You can keep a ‘work-in-progress’ tray on your desk, perhaps with a stationery holder for the essential tools of the job, but make sure it’s used for ‘work-in-progress’ that’s keeps cleared out daily, or at least at the end of each week.
Everything in its place
Look around at your workspace and establish zones where different things happen. Think about where things are and where they need to be. Your desk needs nothing on it apart from your computer and the documents that you’re are working on right now. Documents next in line should be close by, but not close enough to interfere with current jobs, perhaps alongside equipment and supplies that you use regularly.
At the end of each day, clear your desk completely before you go home and start each day with a clean slate. Just doing that alone can make you feel organised and that you had a productive day.
Get organised – get productive
Let’s take a look at the rest of your working environment. The next closest piece of equipment after your desk and in-tray should be your printer/scanner/copier (there’s a lot to be said for a 3-in-1 when it comes to saving space). After all, you don’t want to travel too far to the printer to find out you forgot to click ‘print’. This can be to the side of your desk or underneath it. Make sure your printing supplies are within close reach too.
Elsewhere, you might have a filing area. While we’re there, don’t let this be the place where documents go to die. Regularly archive or digitise documents. And never let filing pile up. Ideally, there should be a drawer set aside here for reference documents.
While this all sound a little bland and ‘institutionalised’, that doesn’t mean you can’t add some personal items to make your workspace more colourful. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that an office plant can improve productivity, in the same way a photograph of a loved one, or of a favourite holiday destination, can give you an incentive for being there. There’s also evidence that suggest being able to personalise your space may lead to psychological benefits, as well as productivity gains.
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