Organization in Your Work Area

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Organization at work is a great tool to help us increase our productivity and keep our tasks and projects in order. However, becoming better organized means more than just keeping your pens and pencils in the right drawer. It’s more important to develop good organizing habits and valuable techniques that will keep you on the right track in whatever you have to do at work.

Keeping Items Within Arm’s Reach

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When in your work space, design your work layout so that everything is within your arm’s reach. We waste so much time having to go out of our way to go get a certain file or to stand by the copier. Generally, if you have to leave your work space to get something, you can become distracted or lose focus, which can interfere with your work and your level of productivity. So when you get to work each day, before you do anything else, reorganize your area so you have immediate access to everything, such as your computer, supplies and even files and folders. Taking time to do this at the beginning of the day will not only better organize your work space, but it will save so much time that could have been wasted throughout the day.

Only Have Current Projects on Your Desk

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You may have a variety of stacks of papers and projects on your desk, but the key is in knowing what is in them. Keeping your desk more organized by only keeping projects that you are currently working with, in your work area. Projects that you have finished should be filed away in the appropriate place, while projects that you haven’t yet started should not be in the work area until you do. Having these projects in sight with your current projects can cause confusion and a lack of focus on unimportant details. Stay focused on current projects by keeping them on your immediate desk area, and don’t allow anything else to encroach.

Questions to ask yourself when keeping projects on your desk:

  • When does this need to be finished?
  • Is it something that can be completed later?
  • Has this already been completed?

Arranging Your Drawers

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When you are organizing your different drawers at work, think about how each one functions in your everyday routine. What purpose do your desk drawers serve? How often do you use your filing cabinet drawers? Drawers that are within arm’s reach, such as your desk drawers, should house items that you use often, but don’t necessarily need every day. You want to ensure you have access to everything without a hitch, while not letting things clutter your desk workspace. Keep your filing cabinet drawers organized by a certain filing system, whether it is by color labels or alphabetical sorting. However you decide to arrange and organize your office drawers, be sure to find a method that works for you and will help increase your ease with finding anything you may need. 

Organize to Match Your Workflow

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Every day you face a variety of tasks or projects to complete, so plan your day accordingly, and plan what you will need to have in order to complete these tasks. If you know you will not need your computer, arrange your workspace to utilize the areas around in and don’t bother with turning it on. If you know you will need the copier or scanner all day, organize the supplies and space you will need to accompany that. When you organize your work area to match you current workflow, less time is wasted trying to move between different areas or side step certain supplies, and will increase your productivity throughout the day.

Tips to help organize with your workflow:

  • Decide what tools you will need for the day
  • Determine if additional supplies are needed
  • Focus on that project or set of tasks for the day. Don’t try to mix in other things.

Case Study

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Aaron was assigned to work on a company slideshow presentation for the next week in his office. When he came to work, he decided he would need to reorganize his office in order to help him work better and complete the project on time. First, he removed all of his other projects off of his desk since he would not need to work on them for the next week or so. Then he went through his desk drawers and file cabinet to make sure he not only had the supplies he needed, but that they were easily accessible to him at all times. Finally when he sat down at his desk to work, he moved and rearranged everything he would need to be in arm’s reach so he wouldn’t have to get back up to find something. Now that everything was arranged to Aaron’s office space was organized to his workflow, he knew he could complete the project without any problems.