April is often one month out of the year that marks a fresh start. The dreary weather making way for sunshine is symbolic of the “out with the old, in with the new” mentality that can positively affect not only our personal lives, but our professional lives as well. Spring cleaning plans are being made at home, so why not apply this to your work as well?
Just as important as it is to shampoo the carpets and deep clean the kitchen at home, taking an annual (or even better yet, a quarterly) look at what needs some extra TLC at your office is essential in maintaining a workspace that is free of clutter, ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency. Engaging in workspace organization, both physically and electronically, helps you keep all your ducks in a row, providing a less chaotic way of managing your time.
Tidying up and organizing the physical mess is what we often think of when we hear the word “cleaning.” Sifting through and filing/shredding piles of paperwork, cleaning out desk drawers, wiping down work surfaces, and engaging in a general decluttering of your office space leads to a less stressful work environment, allowing you to think more clearly, leading to higher levels of productivity.
Electronic organization is just as important as cleaning up tangible clutter. If you don’t do this on a regular basis, start with your email account. An easy habit to fall into, we often let our inbox get larger and larger rather than sorting emails into their designated folders as they come in. By creating specified folders (either organized by subject, client/customer, or chronologically), you can move emails immediately after reading, and can even set emails from specific users to automatically be delivered to their assigned folder. Keeping this space organized makes it far easier to refer to information in old emails, saving you time and frustration.
Additionally, take a look at your document folders. Are they organized in a way that allows for the quick reference of data, both for yourself and (if folders are shared with other employees) your coworkers? Archive folders and documents that are no longer pertinent and delete documents that are duplicated or have no importance. Much like decluttering your physical area, organizing your e-files can improve performance and can save you time in the long run.
Take advantage of the spring cleaning mode many of us find ourselves in this time of year to “deep clean” your office and general workspace. The benefits of taking some time to engage in an annual, and then quarterly or ongoing, purge are countless and lead to a more productive and less stressful environment for you to work in.