I will be the first one to admit that I have a HUGE problem. Staying organized. Every day, I tell myself that this is the day to get myself organized, and keep it that way. I start the day off thinking how disorganized my desk and computer look. I tell myself to get my stuff organized TODAY! Then I say to myself, “Eh, I will do it later”. I bet you can guess my next issue. Yup! You got it! Procrastination! Let’s talk about that one later. For now, let’s talk about ways to get organized, and stay that way.
- Keep your work area clean. Did you know that the average employee wastes close to two weeks a year searching for things that they have misplaced or lost? A clean desk will not only increase productivity, and organization, but believe it or not, can actually cause less stress. Remove clutter off and around your desk. Keep a notebook sized free space on your desk as a designated work space. This will make it easier to review files or folders, or sign necessary documents. Finally, wipe down your desk, keyboard, and mouse weekly to remove food crumbs and bacteria.
- Create a filing system. Make a folder for each project or client. When a document comes across your desk act on it, either throw it away, or file it. Once a project is done, or you are no longer working with the client, go back through the file and get rid of anything that isn’t essential to that client or case.
- Use a daily planner, or calendar – either electronic or paper format. Keeping track of your important tasks and deadlines allows you to see the overall picture. Limit yourself to only using one calendar/planner since using multiple sources can cause confusion.
- Keep your email inbox clean by deleting emails you don’t need immediately, then file the ones you need to keep in relevant named folders. Once you no longer need an email folder, archive it.
- Create a logical filing system on your computer. If you can, try to mirror your paper files and folder categories. The more you can mimic your hard copy folders/files, the easier it will be for you to find and file various documents on both computer and file drawers. Organize documents into appropriately named folders. Use categories to keep related folders together. For example – Active Clients and Potential Clients. Create a folder named, Archive, and move completed files into those folders.
- Review the background on your computer desktop, if you can’t see it, then it’s time to clean it up. Organize desktop documents into folders, archive completed files, and delete shortcuts you don’t use on a regular basis.
- Organize bookmarked links on our internet browsers. We don’t think about it but, they can become overwhelming. Review your links, organize them, and delete the ones you don’t need.
- Set a recurring reminder on your calendar or put a once a month date on your planner to take the time to ensure that you’re keeping up with organization maintenance on a regular basis. Schedule your cleanup for the end of the day so it is less likely to interfere with your work.
- Start each day with a clean and organized desk. At the end of each work day, take a few minutes to tidy up your desk and put everything back in its place.
Keeping your desk and computer organized can help you maintain your sanity! Now, excuse me while I go clean up my desk and computer.