Ways to organize your space

Published 9:34 am Thursday, February 11, 2010

I have to admit, I’m not the most organized person in the world and one look at my desk here at work will tell you that.

Documents and papers are placed in haphazard piles, but if you asked for something—there’s a good chance I’ll be able to find it for you.

Though I can find everything on my desk, it still looks horrendous. Though occasionally I’ll get sick of it and clean it up.

As a journalist by trade, I decided to research some helpful tips for workspace clutter-bugs such as myself.

The tips I found from Ann Arbor News can be applied to your home office or workspace as well.

1. Give projects and daily tasks a priority of “hot” (highest, do it today), “medium” (do it this week), or “cold” (do it when there is time).

2. Keep current files of ongoing projects. As projects change, it should be easy to locate the most current paperwork and take it with you to meetings on this topic.

3. Add time and date stamp to documents printed. This will allow you to quickly assess the newest version of documents.

4. Spend time each day (no more than 10 minutes) cleaning up some portion of your desk. In no time, it should look pretty good.

5. Donate “free” items to charity organizations, this will allow you to bring the items you really want into your home. Primary space should be used for priority items.

6. Set up a filing system that really works. Keep most used items on your desktop; non-priority items should be stored or tossed based on the project.

7. Try to keep interruptions to a minimum when cleaning up. The more focused you can be, the better the result. This includes staying inside your workspace. If something goes to another area, put it in a pile of things that need to leave your workspace, then you can take everything that goes outside your space to where it belongs at one time.

8. Ask people to e-mail important documents, and then you can search for them in your computer, rather than searching through stack on your desk.

9. Remove clutter from your desktop. If you need to display these things, keep only your favorites. Give away the rest, or put them in storage. The fewer distractions, the more easily you will focus on your priorities.

10. If you’re at a loss as to how to do these things, you can always turn to a professional for a little help.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.