Ways to Stay Organized in Your OfficeWhile it’s easy to acknowledge the importance of keeping your office space organized, it isn’t always so easy to achieve. Beyond the simple fact that most of us are too busy to focus on office organization, there’s the complication of information coming at us from so many different places. You get a verbal assignment from your boss, an alert from your company’s social media, and a letter from a vendor. With things coming at you from so many different angles, what are the best ways to stay organized?
Starting with the Basics – Physical Organization
The state of your physical space has a direct and undeniable effect on mood and productivity. Even people who are completely satisfied with their work can be stressed and unhappy at the office because of their environment. Granted, there is a lot about your work environment that you have little to no control over (e.g. cleanliness, lighting, temperature), but you do have control over the physical organization of your space.
Being organized is more about finding the systems and processes that work for you than it is about tidiness. If your files, supplies, etc. are organized in a way that you understand, then you have removed the unnecessary stress of wondering where things are or what else on your desk needs to be addressed. If piles on your desk or clearly labeled folders in a filing cabinet makes the most sense for you, then go with that.
The key is to remain consistent and to form habits that ensure everything remains consistently organized. Perhaps you make sure everything that has been dealt with is off your desk completely before you leave each day, or maybe you schedule 15 minutes every morning to make sure all new items have been properly organized.
Digitize as Much as Possible
A problem with even the best physical organizational system for your office is that there is a maximum capacity. There’s only so much space on your desk for piles after all. Digital organization solutions don’t suffer from that particular limitation, and even better, they come with a plethora of benefits.
A good digital filing system, for example, has near-unlimited capacity and comes with the benefit of being searchable, shareable, and secure. Google Drive is a storage option that not only allows you to upload and organize your own documents, but it also allows you create documents. Add on a service like Shelf.io that allows you to search even within PDFs stored in Google Drive and integrates with other services like Evernote and Dropbox, and you have the ultimate filing system.
Digitizing as much as possible is also great for anyone who sometimes calls their living room, the coffee shop, or even the park bench their office. The Post-It stuck to the monitor in your office doesn’t do you much good when you’re trying to get some work done on the train. Both Windows and Mac computers have built in sticky note applications or you can use a Chrome extension if you want to be able to easily access your notes from any computer.
As previously mentioned, a lack of time to properly organize is big part of why it’s so difficult to be organized. Spending a little extra time upfront to automate different organizational processes is a great solution for this problem. Many services have settings or features built into them that will automate various processes. For example, you can set up filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook that will automatically do things like label, archive, forward, or delete - just to name a few. Using this feature means you can filter and label all emails from your most important clients and then make sure you address those first by viewing all emails with that label.There are also apps that can help to automate your organizational processes across multiple services. IFTTT, which stands for ‘If This Then That,’ offers a wide selection of Applets that will automate processes based on designated triggers. For example, you can have contacts you add to iOS get automatically added to Google, or new files that are added to Dropbox or you receive via Gmail can be automatically added to Google Drive. From Facebook to Amazon Echo, there are hundreds of Applets that work with just about any digital service or product. Applets are searchable by service or product or you can browse through one of the many lists of great Applets to find the ones that would best fit your needs.