Have you ever heard the saying, “A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind?” Here at Far West Capital, we try our best to keep our workspace decently organized, and recognize that doing so can leave more time for productivity. However, somewhere between meetings, conference calls and client work… things can quickly get out of hand. Of course, we aren’t here to shame you if you’re one of those people who operate with a sea of papers on your desk. The important thing is to strive to stay organized, because it really can make a difference — in fact, the average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day just looking for things. That’s almost six weeks per year!
So what is the best method of organization and how do you stay organized? Well, it varies from person to person. If you have a system that works for you, use it. If not, we’ve come up with some universal practices that can help anyone who desires to be more efficient and organized at work:
Make time to organize: Although you don’t have to make organizing your top priority for the day, it is important to at least make time for it. Set aside at least 30 minutes each week to get your desk, computer and even your thoughts in order. Try to spend time at the end of each workday organizing your desk before you leave. This will make the following day much easier, as you will already know where everything is. This is also a great time to shuffle through your desk and toss those old tissues and month-old receipts. In addition, it’s a good idea to spend time at least one day a week organizing your computer to make sure that everything is in its proper folder. We know that there can be times when you are in a rush and you have to save something to the desktop. Just don’t let this happen all the time! Having appropriate folders in your computer can really come in handy when you are quickly trying to locate a particular document. It’s also a good idea to start your workday off by regrouping and recalling all of your assigned daily responsibilities and tasks. This will help organize your mind for a productive start to your day while keeping you focused.
Establish a filing system. Filing cabinets or computer folders? In this case, it really doesn’t matter because both have the potential to be organized. Most importantly, be consistent with your system. Establish a filing system and stick with it. If you prefer to keep hard copies all of your documents in folders or in a filing cabinet, spend the time establishing a proper place for each type of document. Make various folders or use different drawers to distinguish between different types of work. On the other hand, if you prefer to keep track of everything online or on your computer, make sure you have a backup system to save your work in case something terrible happens. Once that is established, make use of your “My Document” folder by creating subfolders to differentiate between various client work, assignments, etc. Once you have your filing system in order, you can then move on to…
Label EVERYTHING: Labeling is always a key factor to organization because it helps you stay consistent with your work. When you properly label everything, your organization process runs smoothly and cohesively. It helps keep everything in its proper place and ensures that you (hopefully) won’t misplace or lose track of something. For all you go-getters out there, you can even get creative by color coding your work or sorting it in alphabetical order. This isn’t necessary, but it can sometimes make the organization process a little less tiresome and a little more fun.
Don’t forget to breathe. We understand that no one is perfect and we don’t expect you to become an organized genius overnight. If you find that the process of trying to stay organized is stressing you out, then take a break and breathe. Although organization might be a key to success, it is not the only factor. Just remember that it really can make a big difference in your work life. Find the time and the method that works best for you and stick with it. With practice, it becomes second nature.
For some people, staying organized is a challenge; for others, it just comes naturally. Regardless, it takes practice and commitment for organization to ultimately help you out in the long run. Stay motivated — your productivity at work will skyrocket when you make a habit out of being tidy and organized.
To be fair, though, Albert Einstein (not known to be tidy or organized) once asked, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
What are some ways that organization has helped you in the workplace?