Time to Tidy Up!
The science is solid: a tidy workspace increases productivity. Clutter causes anxiety. Organization enhances output. Spring cleaning is much more than aesthetic aspiration. An organized office enables you to get more done and to feel your best while you’re working. So today, we’re covering PTA’s top tips and tricks for creating a tidy workspace.
Tidy Up With Small, Manageable Steps
First off, let’s cover how to go about getting it done. Most of us cannot fit a full day of cleaning and organizing into our already full schedules. Thankfully, the small steps add up. Sustainable change happens when we take small, manageable steps toward our goal. As you read through the suggestions below, consider what is most applicable to you. Then, block off manageable chunks of time to work on your projects. As you tidy up, look for areas where you can implement a system to keep yourself organized going forward. (We’ll cover some below.). That’s the big picture. Now, we’ll drill down into some detail.
Everything Needs a Home
Even with a solid filing system in place, paper often inevitably piles up. Take a look around your space with fresh eyes. Have items been sitting around so long they seem like permanent fixtures on your desktop or bookshelf? Schedule some time to put things away. Find a designated spot for items you intend to keep.
Purge & File
As you tidy up, trash what you no longer need. Be honest with yourself regarding that stack of paper you’re intending to get to, someday. Is what you’ve held onto needed or necessary? Are you committed to the idea that originally motivated you to save that magazine, flyer, coupon, or proposal? If so, get some time on your calendar to take action on it. If not, discard it.
Shred old credit card statements and bank statements. These documents are logged, and easily accessible, through your banking platform. Take some time to get familiar and comfortable with your financial institution’s portal. It’s a safe and reliable resource.
File what you need to save. Digitally file what you can. The Notes app on iPhone quickly and easily converts paper to PDF. Challenge yourself to transition one category of paper filing to digital storage this year. Digital files save space. They are more secure than paper files. And, digital filing makes data retrieval fast and simple. Digitally capture old receipts and shred the paper copies. Research the accounting options available where you make your purchases. Oftentimes digital receipts are readily available; you may be able to eliminate paper going forward.
Tackle that stack of business cards in your desk drawer. Throw away those that you know you won’t use. Scan the ones you want to keep. Store them digitally in a platform like Evernote. And, speaking of drawers, are yours due for a clean-out? Things have a tendency to land in our drawers and simply become dormant. Plan to tackle one drawer at a time. Purge or donate what you’re no longer using. Invest in some acrylic bins to organize your supplies, and establish a system for using your drawers going forward.
Address the Email
Is the trash folder on your email system set to empty automatically? If not, set up a rule that works for you. Perhaps emails older than 30 days can be automatically purged or archived?
Email is not designed to be a filing system. Set up a folder system to archive emails you might need to refer back to. Independent of any archiving system, get into the practice of saving any email attachments you want. Store them in your digital filing system.
If you don’t regularly process your email, you likely have a lot of old emails sitting in your inbox. Clean up the clutter. Try sorting by sender, or year, to conduct group purges. Then, commit to the practice of deleting or archiving going forward.
Save the Earth While You’re At It
Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22. Recognized worldwide, the goal of Earth Day is to change human behavior to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. Tidying up aligns perfectly with Earth Day’s objective. We protect our landfills when we recycle old electronics (PCs, tablets, phones), used batteries, and empty printer ink cartridges. We save trees when we sign up for electronic statements and opt for electronic receipts. Getting tidy is good for the greater good!
Tidy Up & Reap the Benefits
Tidy not only looks good, it feels good and does well. A clean and organized workspace optimizes your potential. Tidy up by slotting manageable organizing tasks into your schedule. Build sustainable momentum by establishing processes to keep your space organized going forward.
Sara Genrich & Nancy Kruschke, founders of Productivity Training Academy, came together with the vision of creating practical, results-driven online on-demand courses for time management, productivity, and technology training. With over 50 years of combined productivity experience, Sara and Nancy’s knowledge, skills, and talents illuminate valuable paths to business gain, serving as an effective catalyst for positive change.