Put a roomful of random people together (because that’s how work usually starts; with strangers), and you’ll soon start to notice differences in workstation orderliness. Although there really is no right or wrong way to organize your work area, there are a few things to consider:
- A messy desk might be deemed a comfort and a creative wellspring to you, and only you.
- It affects the overall image of the company.
- It could also affect your colleagues overall assessment of your work abilities and attitude.
I was pretty stubborn about cleaning up and organizing my own workspace when I first started working. After all, I reasoned in my head that my desk was my own “Home Sweet Home” and nobody else should be allowed to interfere with it as long as I was being productive.
Well, I learned through many small and pointed lessons along the way that having a messy workstation is not the same as having an inspiring workstation. The benefits of maintaining a clean and tidy space will definitely make up for any loss of your time and effort.
- Consider and reconsider. It might not take as many steps as the above, but you should definitely take a good look at the items on and around your workstation to determine if they’re essential to fueling your work progress. Putting aside a minimalistic approach, you should be able to divide items into necessities and wants. Unless you have a tendency to break anything you come into contact with, there’s no reason for duplicate office items on your table.Try to do a little “spring cleaning” every once in awhile to determine what gets to stay and what needs to go. You’ll be amazed how this also helps to diminish the clutter in your mind as you view your improved area.
- Only put necessities within reach. Just to be clear, ‘within reach’ does not mean bending or stretching excessively to gain access to something. Analyze your work flow to determine the placement of convenient items. This will most likely include a computer, your phone, a notebook, pens and other office supplies. For everything else that you deem necessary for your work or project, keep in mind that “within arms reach” will usually suffice. Items that only require the occasional glance or handling can be kept in your visual field but should not interfere physically with your work.
- Set clearly defined zones. Ask yourself, “What does each section of my workstation represent and how much of that is a need or want?” Today, a desktop or laptop usually has a sweet spot on our desks. You’ll probably want to decide its location first before bringing in the rest of your entourage of items. Break your workstation down into macro parts to start; work, relax, storage, research, etc. After that, pick a macro and start to break it down further into micros: work – computer, notes, files, stationary, etc. This process will also help you understand the most effective way to work and will also decrease the chances of misplacing or knocking over items.
- Organize your papers. Even with many companies going eco-friendly, there are still plenty of businesses dependent on paper products. Nobody wants to get buried under a pile of papers. One simple way to organize is to designate areas, trays or baskets with clear labeling for example, To Do, To Read, To File, etc. After that, it’s about maintenance. However you choose to label your papers, do remember that making a habit out of arranging them or organizing them will go a long way to ensuring that you’ll always be able to locate exactly what you want with the minimum amount of time wasted.
- Clean out your drawers. You don’t have to take “drawers” literally as some of you might not have drawers in the first place, but you’ll most likely have a stash of items which could really use a sorting out.The instant benefit of this activity is the current knowledge of the items you own and also the chance to do something about it other than letting the items be forgotten.Once you’ve established what to throw, keep or give away, it’s recommended that you take steps to organize the items to prevent a messy drawer recurrence. A simple way to start would be with drawer dividers.
- Designate a place for short term items. Let’s get this straight: nothing lasts forever. There will be a natural death for all items on and around your workstation. If you have items that constantly eat up your space but are not essential to office work, e.g. daily newspaper, gym bag, spare shoes, umbrella, etc., you’ll probably want to have a small area or basket in which to place them temporarily.Just take note to clear this out every once in awhile (depending on the space dedicated to these items) to avoid a “permanent” incident. The idea will always be to have an organized and up-to-date workstation which is conducive to productivity.
- Fix regular cleaning intervals. Your cleaning and organizing schedule doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence. It could be once or twice a week, once every two weeks or even once a month. One helpful tip here is to determine the type of tidying you should be doing more regularly and the type which needs only be done every once in awhile. If you prefer to look at a physical desk calendar rather than be reminded digitally, you can easily mark the dates down so you’ll be less likely to miss or forgo it with other activities.To foster a new cleaning habit , it’ll be good to spend up to five minutes each day getting rid of unnecessary items and rearranging any important ones.
- Be mindful of others. Last but not least, be considerate of the colleagues working in your vicinity. As I mentioned earlier, what makes for a comfortable personal workspace for yourself might not necessarily be the same for others.If you tell yourself that the opinions and feelings of others concerning the state of your space does not concern you, you’re wrong. Most folks want to work in an equally comfortable space and a messy desk could stick out like a sore thumb.
You’ll realize that having a neat and organized workstation is a beacon of positivity and a source of inspiration not just for yourself, but also for other people who drop by.
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