It’ll only take a few minutes each day to get a clean work space.
I am a working mom, and let me tell you, from cleaning the kitchen to clearing a path in the playroom, working mothers are always organizing something. However, our offices are our private spaces. Here, we can become relaxed and disorganized. It’s a space that won’t end up with a trail of goldfish crackers on the rug or small toys stuck under the seat cushions. You need a clean office.
So why keep it clean? Your career is impacted by clutter! And decluttering it isn’t as hard as you think it is. Purge and clean your office in small steps over five days so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Here’s how to do it.
Purge, Sort, and Clear Your Space
Grab a trash barrel and recycling bin and start purging. This is the best part! The goal is to purge yourself of this mess to make room for many good things to come. Place things that need to be kept in a box or a corner of your office. Be mindful if the paperwork in the recycle bin needs to be shredded or not.
To help keep things organize minimize personal effects in your office because they are something you need to keep clean, too.
At the end, your desk or work area should be clear. Do a quick wipe and dust and then get back into your work. You’ll be on your way to a clean office.
Find a Home for Everything
At your next scheduled time to clean your office, you need to find a home for all of your stuff to have a clean office.
To avoid future clutter everything in your office needs to have a home. After you use an item there is this great spot that you will look forward to putting it away. Clutter happens when things do not have a home. The best time to find a home for things is when your space is clear and bare. You’ll have a great eye for what your space is capable of holding.
Develop a Filing System
Now it’s time to tackle that pile of paperwork you put in that box in the corner.
If your filing system consists of tossing memos or mail in a pile on your desk, you need to organize your office. Start by picking up folders from the supply cabinet. Organize them by subject matter, date or document type in a file cabinet. Every time a piece of paper comes across your desk, either throw it out or file it. Force yourself to get up from your desk or open your drawer and file every paper in its proper place.
Clean Out Your Collection of Business Cards
Did you find a slew of business cards when you cleared your workspace or papers with phone numbers scribbled on them? Grab your phone and search for a new app. There are many apps out there that can scan a business card and transfer the information to your smartphone, such as Evernote or ScanBizCards.
Set aside some time, depending on how many cards you need to scan, to be sure all data is safely transferred before recycling your cards. Going forward every time you get a new contact or business card, scan it.
Organize the Documents in Your Computer
You need to be able to find information for your boss or client in a timely fashion. Organization of computer files is as important as paper files.
Whether you work on spreadsheets, in Microsoft Word or on other programs, organize computer documents according to date, subject or category. Before you start moving documents write out an organizational hierarchy that would work for your paperwork that would make your work life easier. Then start moving documents as you go.
After you go through your documents don’t let it go to waste. Be sure to backup files on an external hard or flash drive to avoid losing work if your computer system crashes.
Update Paperwork Regularly
When your file cabinet drawer is so stuffed you can’t close it, it’s time to reduce your paper clutter by discarding outdated documents. Schedule a specific time each week to take stock of your paperwork. Avoid tossing entire files. Instead, only get rid of outdated material, such as files for clients who haven’t used your services in two years. Condense larger files, and keep only the most necessary up-to-date items.
Organize Your Office Weekly
A cluttered office is a path to an inefficient work life. Reserve 15 minutes after lunch to organize things. File necessary paperwork, scan business cards, organize computer files and spreadsheets, and put items back in their home.
Once you have de-cluttered your personal space at work you’re going to feel incredibly energized. You’ll feel lighter and this positive energy will pass on to others. Avoid reverting back to your old style by making weekly clean-ups a habit. Your office will start to be so organized that those 15 minutes you have a schedule to clean up you can use to do yoga or meditate to help clean up your mind! See? Good things happen when you purge and clean.
(Originally posted on The Balance Careers)