Organize Your Workspace

by : Sandy McBride

A Productive Work Environment... is One that's Clean and Neat...

It's time to sit down at your desk and hit the ground running, but your chair is empty. Where are you? Making more coffee? Going through the mail? Avoiding the stress that comes from sitting down every morning at a desk piled with papers that get shuffled from one side of your desk to the other whenever you need to find something? Stop.

What do you think sitting down to a clean, organized desk would do for your productivity level? What would it do for your attitude? Without a doubt, avoiding the ritualistic paper shuffle, and finding whatever you need in seconds would make you more efficient, more positive, and certainly appear more organized.

According to psychologist and business coach Sabrina Schleicher, PhD, many workers suffer from "presenteeism," the phenomenon of coming to work and being physically present, but unable to mentally work at one's full potential. Clutter, and stress related to working in a cluttered environment, contribute to presenteeism.

There are several ways you can change a cluttered work environment for good. Simply cleaning and organizing today won't prevent clutter from building up again tomorrow. Here are a few minor changes that can make a major impact on your work environment for the long term:

Create two filing systems. The first, away from your desk, to house papers you are finished processing but need to keep. The second, in your desk, that includes a file of papers you are currently working with. Putting papers you need to grab or look at often in order to finish current projects in an easy-to-reach hanging file folder, makes them easily accessible, but prevents them from being stacked back onto your desk once you've moved on to something else. Use binder clips to keep current project papers together until they are ready to be filed elsewhere.

Get a desk designed to prevent clutter. The traditional oversized, clunky desk is a thing of the past. A desk with a large, non-functional work surface only invites clutter to grow on top of it. Try a functional desk with a medium-sized work surface (48 inches is ideal), and customize it based on the equipment you use and want to be within arm's reach. Use a printer? Add a printer platform that attaches directly to the desk. Have an oversized CPU? Attach a CPU holder. This type of design ensures everything has a place, gives you ample work space, and prevents office equipment and papers from being stacked in places they don't belong. We found the perfect desk at . The Versa Center is affordable, sleek, and can be customized in countless ways to fit your individual needs.

Use your calendar. A large, dry erase calendar board posted on a wall works best. Use it to organize your deadlines and work time, keep track of pertinent notes, and phone numbers you will need to call often. Using an ever-changing calendar will keep you from writing information on slips of paper that can be lost on your desk. You won't spend time flipping through a rolodex or clicking away from your work to your Outlook every time you need to make a call. And you'll be better able to plan your time wisely because everything is laid out neatly, comparing the amount of time you have to spend on each project.