4 Organizational Hacks To Optimize Your Work Space
Let’s face it: not all of us are super organized when it comes to keeping our work and personal lives intact.
At the end of the week, do you ever find yourself thinking, “there’s definitely something I forgot to put in my agenda” or “was that ALL I needed to do this week?”
Chances are, that nagging feeling of something to do— the one you haven’t totally tuned into— is linked to some sort of decluttering that would serve you. In fact, disorganization is a common concern with 54% of Americans' sites revealing they feel overwhelmed with clutter, and don’t know what to do about it.
The reality is, having a cohesive office and work space is incredibly important for maintaining productivity and keeping ease in the day. Psychologists have found some major benefits and effects on the brain due to maintaining organization. Living in a disorganized and cluttered environment has proven to reduce productivity, inhibiting your ability to focus or concentrate— and increasing your stress. Whether or not you are organizationally challenged, these 4 hacks will help any personality stay up to date and feel at ease in their work and home environments.
The more clutter you have, the harder it is to quickly find what you are actually in need of. If you routinely can’t find a report moments before a big meeting, or your car keys are lost in your desk drawers, and you’re about to be late to a lunch time doctor's appointment, you know clutter is stressful. Not only that but, disorganization eats up the time you have in the day.
Believe it or not, Americans spend an average of 2.5 days each year looking for misplaced stuff. The impact doesn’t stop there… 60% of people have either been late to work or school because of lost items, followed by 49% who have missed appointments or meetings. Living in clutter is more of a time and energy drain than you probably ever considered.
Don’t know where to begin? Getting rid of your tax forms from 2014 in your drawer could be a nice start. De Paul University’s psychology professor, Joseph Ferrari PhD, has stated that we (as human beings) develop attachment to clutter because of the significance of abundance it symbolizes. Simply put, the more physical “stuff” we possess, the more abundant we may feel, even if the belongings aren’t necessary. Therefore, we make it difficult to part with additional items due to our attachment to the abundance.
Carve out time on a day off or a slower day in the office to sift through old papers, mail, documents, etc. and figure out what’s important and what is not. If there’s something you’re unsure of needing or not- place into a box or manila envelope and place it somewhere safe yet out of mind’s eye.
Take part in the KonMari Method, a strategy of organization that is all about choosing what to keep versus deciding what to get rid of. A great activity, especially for your home clutter, is to pick up each item and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” If not, get rid of it. While you can’t necessarily get rid of work papers this way, it is helpful for clothing, books and sentimental items.
When you begin with this step, it will already make a huge difference on your mental state and be a materialized-physicalization of all the clutter that’s currently in your head.
2. Tag & Code Files
According to the Wall Street Journal, the average U.S. Executive misplaces important documents and wastes six weeks to relocate and search for this vital information. This cuts in on your time which cuts into a good quality of your earnings.
It’s easier than ever to file documents, both on your laptop and printed pieces of paper. Tagging everything or putting it in a designated file that is easy to search for, is a game changer. Separate them in the categories you see fit but keep it down to a considerable size.
A great start is to color code and keep an index to remind you of what belongs to which color. The reasoning behind this will give you more than just a name of the file, but something more distinctly tangible to grasp and locate with ease. Color-coding your organizational process at work is a way to give yourself visual cues and prompts for quick identification.
Another investment for quality filing is a label maker. While this may sound like a simple tool, it is a powerful investment for your well-being. A label maker will give your files a more finished and professional presentation, as well as alleviating space, opening your creativity and creating a calmer work environment.
This isn’t a one-and-done activity, keep your files managed about every 3-5 months. Set a time on your calendar to review documentation every quarter. Once you get the files where they belong, you will feel more confident in your work environment and ready for anything that may present itself.
Of course, we all have places we store specific items, but is it more of a “mindless place” or a “mindful place”? If you live in a home where one of the kitchen drawers is filled with pens, sticky notes and random restaurant business cards, it’s time to notice not only what is being organized, but where the organization is taking place. After the detoxing and the filing, begin designating what material and items belong to where. For example, make the desk a place for various utensils, paper clip/staple, immediate file, computer and important book(s) section.
Having quality storage also doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, if you are so inclined, you can turn part of the organization process into a creative project. There are so many tutorials on Youtube, Pinterest, and Tumblr that show how to repurpose various recyclable items and affordable materials to create the file cabinet and desk drawers of your dreams.
4. Wall Usage
An area that is incredibly underrated but very important—your walls! They surround you basically your entire day and it is rarely used for more than just a place to hang pictures and degrees. On top of the quick access and alleviated floorspace, walls are the key to heightened visualization. Psychologists and spiritual leaders alike, have proven that having anything on your immediate line of sight will heighten your sensory inputs to produce what is called “pre-attentive processing”, the subconscious gathering of information from the environment. When the pre-attentive processing is unlocked, it takes “200-500 milliseconds for the eye to transmit and the brain to process the pre-attentive property of visual stimulus”. Simply put, when your layout is skillfully prepared, you will mentally process inputs quicker and easier.
The best ways to organize with your wall is a floating shelf, tacked calendar/notice board, a vision/goal board, mail holders and hooks. Clearing as much of your desk as well as your internal headspace-making you the greatest you (and your office) can be.
Don’t let your organizational capacity limit your potential. Declutter your physical space to declutter your mind.
Patty Block, President and Founder of The Block Group, established her company to advocate for women-owned businesses, helping them position their companies for strategic growth. From improving cash flow…. to increasing staff productivity…. to scaling for growth, these periods of transition — and so many more — provide both challenges and opportunities. Managed effectively, change can become a productive force for growth. The Block Group harnesses that potential, turning roadblocks into building blocks for women-owned businesses.