How to Organize Your Office Space for Productivity
Productivity = the rate of output per unit of input. Your output rate can be easily hampered by all kinds of distractions. Managing those things that tend to sidetrack you will help increase your productivity.
CLEAR YOUR DESK
Take a good look at your office space. Then, take a “before” photo and study it for areas that appear disorganized. Start with the obvious — your desktop. Can you see the surface, or have you covered every inch with supplies and ongoing projects? Do you console yourself with the old joke, “A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind”?
In fact, there’s evidence that a bit of messiness is next to creativeness, but you can take it too far. A hopelessly cluttered office can hinder your ability to complete tasks and meet deadlines. If you’re a messy person by nature, finding a solution that brings more organization into your place of work will help keep you on track.
Consider what Stanford University philosophy professor John Perry said his book “The Art of Procrastination,” “The fact is, I am a horizontal organizer. I like all the things I am working on spread out on a surface in front of me, where they can beckon me to continue working on them. When I put something in a file, I never see it again,” said Perry. His dream is to have a large round spinning tabletop, a la the lazy Susan, to hold unfinished projects. File cabinets are for finished works only. This approach could go for digital desktops as well with only finished works stored in folders.
While your office space may not allow for such a setup, consider a rectangular table where you can place projects in order of priority, left to right. You can swap those piles as you make progress. This would free up your desk for only the project of the moment.
Not to get all Marie Kondo on you, but if you can go paper-free, you’ll not only reduce your office clutter, but you’ll help support the natural environment. The queen of tidy points out, “The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees.” Recycle what papers, and electronics, you can and work on developing the habit of limiting the amount of printing you do for work.
GET RID OF CLUTTER
Another common source of clutter is office supplies. Pens, sticky notes, and paper clips have a way of ending up scattered in random drawers and various desktop containers. There’s no end to the shapes and styles of organizers you could use for corralling these items. But, if your work requires specialty supplies, you might be well-served by a custom organizer to keep often-used supplies in their place.
The company Organize My Drawer will send you a sturdy clear acrylic organizer, built to your exact specifications. You might also consider hiring a professional organizer to come in and design an aesthetically pleasing storage system for your space.
Once you get your office in shape, take that “after” photo. Keep it where you can easily review it the next time you find the place sliding back into chaos. It will give you a visual guide for restoration.
Workplace well-being is just one piece of your quality of life. It may come as no surprise that Utah ranks in the top five states for excellent places to live and work. Surveys involving Americans across the country were used to construct a quality of life index that ranks states on factors such as geographic location and economic output. Those of us fortunate enough to call Utah home can ensure our lives are even more satisfying by making our workplaces as productive as possible.
Remember the prolific writer Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Don’t delay in setting yourself up for increased productivity so you can start enjoying that payoff right away.
Kristin Kidd is a journalist and marketing professional who works from her own office while meeting the demands of her two teenagers. She admits her office isn’t always as organized as she’d like, but she still manages to juggle several projects at once.