Clutter creates chaos, disorder, and inefficiency in both your professional and personal life. Having worked in senior management in multi-national organizations for 20 years, I have witnessed all the tricks of the trade when it comes to looking busy. Many people describe their spaces as “organized chaos”, but in reality, it’s mostly just chaos, which can negatively affect those around you and increase your own stress levels.
How do you feel when you arrive back at the office after your relaxing vacation, only to find a massive backlog of emails? If you’re anything like me, you breathe a huge sigh of relief when you finally get your inbox back under control. That’s what de-cluttering your office space and using effective document storage can give you – control. Start using these tricks today and see how much more productive you can be tomorrow!
Clear Your Desk
The key to increased productivity is being able to focus on the task at hand by eliminating interruptions and distractions. It may sound simple, and that’s because it is. Even if you are short on space, it’s important to keep your desk clear and under control.
Try this: for one day, put all of your paperwork into a filing cabinet. Don’t worry about sorting it; just get it off your desk. This one small change can dramatically improve your productivity, since you can only see the current task at hand, and not everything else that needs to be done.
Shred or Save
Go through all of your paperwork and file it into the relevant folders. Create as many different folders as you need to, as each piece of paperwork should fit into a relevant category. Remember that you don’t need to keep every single piece of paper that has ever made its way into your office; just hold onto all of the important documents and get rid of the rest.
Be ruthless: if you haven’t touched something in a few weeks or months, chances are it should have been shredded long ago. When you do come across documents that are important (business filings, financial info etc.), put them into the correct folder. Then, when you need to reference that document, you’ll know exactly where to find it.
Maximize Your Space
Take a step back and consider your current office space and storage capabilities. Could you move some of the filing cabinets out of your office, or even send some of the older paperwork to an off-site storage facility? If you do choose to move documents off-site, be sure to clearly label each box, so that if you have to retrieve it, you’ll know exactly which box to grab. Your labeling system could be as simple as using a different color of boxes or labels to denote each different department or employee.
If you don’t have a specified area for archival storage on site, off-site storage really is your best option. The key here is to choose a storage facility or use a company (such as my own – my only sales pitch in this post) that is close to your premises or has the facilities to return your stored boxes back to you on short notice.
If you are running a large corporation and have thousands of files that need to be archived, be sure to make the relevant people responsible for their own departments and offices. Ensure that they too organize each file according to the category that it falls in to. There is no point in simply dumping the collected files into random boxes and shipping them off-site. If you do that, you’re just moving the problem, not solving it, and your pain will be doubled if you ever need to search your archived files.
Increase Your Productivity
Moving archived files and culling your current paperwork can free up mounds of space – quite literally! Every six filing cabinets you remove will open up enough space for one additional employee workstation. When you think about it this way, it’s very easy to calculate the benefits of clearing your clutter.
Once you’ve cleared it away, make sure it stays that way by continuing to file or shred paperwork as you go. Keep your office and desk clear and I have no doubt that your levels of productivity will soar while your daily stress levels will decrease dramatically.
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