Clean Desk = Clean Mind and Why That’s Important In An Ever Busy World
The phrase might sound like it’s been lifted straight from a David Brent meeting but clichéd or not, it’s so true. With more and more of us working from home, our office is the epicenter of activity for our business and it needs to be well organised and clutter free.
Just a few short hours this weekend sorting through your clutter will go a long way to making you work smarter and increasing your productivity. Go on, you know you want to!
Take everything off your desk except your phone, your computer and your printer. Looks good doesn’t it? Now’s your chance to give it a clean (yes, a clean!) Once the stuff is off your desk it’s a much more difficult decision to put it back. Ask the basic questions, do you need it, use it or love it? What’s to love in my office, you ask? A family photo, a prized award or a precious memento – these things are there to remind us why we’re doing this day after day so they deserve pride of place.
Examine every single piece of paper – put it in your action tray, file it, recycle it, or scan it to keep a digital copy. If it’s been buried for months under a two foot pile is it that vital? Maybe now is the time to wipe the slate clean and just accept it’s never going to pop to the top of your list of priorities.
Look at your office supplies – what do you really need? 7 hole punches, 78 plastic sleeves, your old secondary school ringbinders? Chances are your working methods have changed with a paperless system, so let the old stationery go. You paid a lot for it, I know, but leaving it hanging around cluttering up your working space is going to affect your clarity of thought.
For most home offices, I can’t recommend a filing cabinet highly enough – ugly they may be but they’re sturdy, flexible, and highly visual.
Hanging files are brilliant because they are flexible – you can add or take away as required and move them around to suit. If your file is groaning under the weight of that paper, do one of two things, be ruthless with what you keep or subcategorise. Plastic inserts are useful too, but use the ones that open on two sides for ease of access. Anything that involves too much effort is a barrier to you getting the job done.
Be clever with your filing system . You might use colour coding, alphabet, numeric – your system, your choice. Bank, Current Account, Natwest, money, financial – these things are the same but a different name works for different users. So choose one that works for you.
Your intray becomes your to do list. My paper system mirrors my digital system. If it’s in my intray it still needs looking at, if it’s in my email inbox it still needs action. Once it’s actioned, it gets filed whether that is in my filing cabinet or my file folders. It works for me! Now all you need to do is find a system that works for you.
Make 2014 the year that you get your home office working for you – declutter that desk and declutter your mind.
Lesley Spellman is a Professional Organiser who runs The Clutter Fairy, decluttering and organising homes and home offices in the North West of England.