The end of the year is the season where things tend to slow down a bit at work (at least for some, not for us, this is our busiest season for commercial moving). So many people take this time to tidy up and get organized for the new year. For those of you that aren’t OCD about keeping a clean office area, I wanted to share with you 5 tips to keep your office clean and organized.
Tip #1 – Out with the old. File It, Scan It, Shred It
Throw out what you don’t need (also known as purging). Go through your paperwork pile on your desk and see what you need or what you can get rid of. Start off with three different piles, everyday use, occasional use, and never use. Those items that you never use – throw it out, shred it and recycle the paper.
I know what you are thinking, “I may use this someday.” Everything is going digital these days, there’s not much reason to have tons of paper files lying around your office. If you aren’t using it, there’s no use in keeping it. But if you can’t get past that feeling, “I’ll need this someday” then scan it, file it and shred it.
Unless using paper is a must, try to decrease the amount of paper you use and recycle the paper you no longer need.
Tip #2 – Archive old files
Are your email inbox and computer desktop a hot mess? If you haven’t used computer files (especially emails!) in the past year or so, archive them or create folders to store them. You’ll still have them, but you won’t have to wade through them in your inbox to find current pressing items. Consider setting a policy to delete archived files after a certain time, too.
Don’t forget about those files in your filing cabinets. They can be archived too. Go through them and see what you need and what you can archive.
Tip# 3 – Organize the documents on your computer
You need to be able to find information for your boss, coworkers or a client quickly. Organizing your computer files is just as important as organizing paper files.
Organize computer documents according to date, subject or category. Before you start moving documents-write out a “file org chart” that would work for you to remember where to find those files later. Make it simple and name it just for you – this will make your work life easier. Then start dragging and dropping those documents into folders as you go.
After you go through your documents don’t let it go to waste. Be sure to backup files on your company server, cloud-based storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, an external hard or flash drive to avoid losing work if your computer crashes.
Tip #4 – Go Paperless
Here’s an easy way to get rid of all the random scraps of paper, notebooks, or post-it notes that are scattered on so many of our desks – go paperless!
Apps like OneNote, Evernote, Google Keep, Bear, and a ton of others make cloud-based note-taking super easy. I personally use OneNote as it syncs data between my laptop and my cell phone. This is a great feature when you are in meetings that you can’t bring your laptop to or you’re at home and you get a “light bulb” moment where you need to jot down a few quick notes.
Tools like Dropbox, Box and One Drive are essential when it comes to reducing paper clutter and file cabinet disasters. Saving and sharing files in the cloud will help your office reduce paper waste and you find files wherever you are.
If paperless makes you uncomfortable, try switching from a boring old to-do list to a “daily docket” style pad. The super-simple, intuitive layout of the daily docket notepad helps you visualize your entire day in one fell swoop, while also separating your errands, tasks, meetings, and notes.
Tip #5 – Store needless furniture
Finally, clean out the office of unwanted or unused furniture. Clearing out unwanted or unused items from your office space will give you more room and maybe even create a collaboration area for your team. Consider using a commercial storage facility to store your unwanted items. It is usually cheaper and definitely more secure than going to the self-storage option.