Whether you work from home, work in an office, or just a cubicle down the hall, you spend most of the day at your workspace. Here are some of the best ways to keep it from becoming a productivity nightmare.
Photo by Mike.
We've shared our favourite home office hacks, as well as some really neat DIY office projects, but the most important thing you can do to your office is optimise it for productivity. Whether your workspace needs a complete overhaul or you just need to make the most with what you have, these are some of the best workplace upgrades to help you organize and streamline your workspace.
10. Pick the Right Desk for Your Space and Workflow
Your desk is the centre of your workspace, the place you get things done. If you just pick any old piece of wood with drawers and slap it down in an office, you probably aren't using the space as efficiently as possible. Take some time to look at the different kinds of desks, their pros and cons, and find out which one fits best with your individual space and workflow. Photo by Richard Valdez, from the Red Walls and Dramatic Lighting: An Inexpensive Office Makeover.
9. Re-Evaluate Your Office Gear and Get Rid of What You Don't Need
If you've got a particularly cluttered space on your hands, you need to start with an honest evaluation of everything in your office. Sure, everything in your office has some sort of purpose, but unless you need it to get your work done on a daily basis, it probably doesn't belong there. Once you get rid of all the things you "might use" and keep only the things you do, you'll find keeping your workspace organized much less of a chore.
8. Use a Camera to Help See The Worst Clutter Spots
If your office still doesn't feel truly clean after getting rid of your clutter, you're probably missing an important trouble spot. Snapping a few pictures of your workspace from different positions may help point out especially bad clutter spots you didn't see before. Sometimes, only a change of perspective will point out items in your office that have become such an integral part of the scenery you didn't realise you don't need them anymore. Photo by jekert gwapo.
7. Reboot Your Workspace Each Evening
Once you've done the initial workspace cleanout, the next challenge is keeping it that way. The easiest way to stay organized is to spend five or ten minutes straightening everything up at the end of the day. It doesn't need to be perfect; just getting the unnecessary stuff out of the way will do wonders for keeping clutter from piling right back up again. Photo by Masterjay88.
6. Organize Desk Drawers in a Hierarchy of Importance
Your desk drawers are the first place you're going to go to stash your office supplies, and thus the first places to get unorganized again. Take some time to refill your drawers, and prioritize them by importance and ease of access. Keep your most essential supplies in the top drawer, on the side of your dominant hand, and work down from there—you'll be surprised how much time you save when the things you really need are close at hand. Photo by Orcmid.
5. Make Your Own PVC Storage System
For things you want readily accessible on your desk, you don't need to spend a lot of money on fancy organisers. Just take a few pieces of PVC pipe, glue them together and use them to organise your loose items. It's a quick, cheap way to keep things readily accessible without them cluttering up your desk. (Original post) Photo by Boon.
4. Organise Your Shelves with DIY Labelled Dividers
If you need quick access to books, music, or any other kind of physical media, you can save yourself a ton of time flipping through shelves with a few simple dividers. With just some sticky letters and a few cheap or homemade dividers, you can turn that giant, looming bookcase into a much more manageable storage system.
3. Beat Your Filing Cabinet Into Shape
If your filing system consists of a bunch of paperwork stuffed away in a box because you "might need it someday", it's time for a change. Create a filing system workflow based on your specific needs: whether paperwork is easily accessible, whether it's necessary to keep, and for how long. If you stick to your regular filing cabinet workflow, you'll find that your paperwork finds it's way to where it belongs and you can spend less time rooting through folders. Photo by juan23for.
2. A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place
If, at the end of it all, you still find loose items getting lost on your desk, you may need to re-evaluate your space and where those things can go. Whether that means creating a DIY charging station for all your mobile tech or creating a digitizing system so it doesn't clutter your physical workspace, you need to fill the holes that a simple re-organisation can't fix.
1. Don't Go Overboard
While we all need some serious organisation time every once in a while, don't let it get excessive: you begin to waste as much time as you're trying to save. If something wasn't wasting your time in the first place, it probably doesn't need reorganisation. Learn to recognise what's "good enough", and when you it's time to stop organising and time to start getting things done. Perfection can be a huge detriment to productivity, and you don't want to forget why you started organising in the first place. Photo by BLW Photography.
What are some of your favourite tips for streamlining, organizing, and saving time in the workplace? Let us know in the comments.