Got a Messy Office?
Here's How to Improve It

A messy office can make all the difference about how you feel and function at work.

You can easily spend as much time in your office as at you do in your home. That being the case, is it an environment that you enjoy being in?

The Problem...

Sooner or later, most people let things slide.

It starts with a piece of paper put down here, or a coffee cup there.

Before you know it, junk and clutter seem to be everywhere you look and things have spiraled out of control...

Investing time to sort out your space and then keeping it organized will quickly improve your attitude to your office environment and your time management at work.

How to Improve Your Messy Office

1. Plan a time to do so

Don’t do it right after reading this! 

Plan some time tomorrow, or whenever you’ll have a block of time to do it.

How long should you work on it for? Work for the length of time you’ll take to do something you consider meaningful – a “window of effective action”. 

A “Window of Effective Action” is the length of time you can face working on something (action) that actually makes a difference (i.e it’s effective) – in this case, organizing a messy office.

2. Prepare

Get containers to use for recycling and collecting whatever can’t be re-used. Labels, marker pens, a notepad and a timer will be helpful, too.

3. Set the timer

How long will you work for?

You almost certainly don’t have to finish this in one go. If you do, are you prepared to accept the consequences for doing so?

What’s the knock on effect for everything else today? If there’s time, fine. If it’s limited, time box it (see below) and come back to it at your convenience.

4. Purge

Work systematically, one space at a time to clear or recycle anything you know won’t be missed.

Be ruthless. If it hasn’t been used in the last six months, does it deserve to stay?

5. Organize

Group similar items together as far as you can. Contain them, label them and make a note of anything you need to do or buy to finish organizing properly.

This step can be overwhelming. If so, break it down.

Plus a few tips on how to organize it...

  • What technology could you use that would reduce the need for paper clutter? What’s one thing you could do about this?
  • Which hand do you answer the phone with? Keep it on that side of the desk, with pen and paper nearby.
  • What are your most frequently used items? Are they easily accesible so you waste less time looking for pens, paperclips, notepads and whatever else you need?
  • When you’re thinking about acquiring something for your office, ask yourself three questions: Will it justify the financial cost? Will it justify the space it takes up? And will it make my office feel and function better?
  • From now on, put everything back where it belongs even if it could go somewhere better. Eventually change where you keep it, but make sure everyone affected knows.

Now here’s your homework. :)

Who do you know with a consistently tidy and organized office? Ask them how they did it.  This is one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve your work space.

No matter how bad your messy office is, any time you spend to improve it will have a positive effect on how you feel, how you function and your time management at work.

When can you start? 

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Messy Office

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