post no. 263 -- seize the day: 9 tips on getting organized in the office

today has been a long one. i spent most of it working away and wondering in the back of my mind what on earth to blog about today. unlike a lot of more organized bloggers, i tend to write on a day to day basis instead of having 2 or 3, or 7, posts lined up in my drafts section. i find that it prevents things from getting too predictable around here. then again, maybe i'm just making excuses for my lack of discipline. i have a meeting with some prospective clients in ohh.. 46 minutes so i figured what better time than to have a little sit down with blogger.

in the spirit of blogging about whatever comes to mind, i would like to spend a little time today on office organization. at work i might as well be the clean fairy, but i am in no way diligent about organization in my household. i'm getting better, much much better {something has recently snapped in my head and clutter is really irking me lately}, but i am in no way shape or form an expert. i would just like to take a few minutes, give you a tour of my office at work, and share a few tid bits of knowledge that have helped me in my little stint in the corporate realm.

tip no. 1 -- scratch paper is your best friend. 

note it's location? right by the phone. if you have a larger desk 1) i'm jealous, and 2) place it right next to your phone. keeping scratch paper on hand has helped me so much. whether it is used to jot down a note or two when i'm talking to a client on the phone, or to scribble out detailed brainstorming sessions with my boss, it's a necessity for my desk. i like to use two separate pads; a small memo pad and then a larger subject style notebook.  i use the smaller of the two for smaller details, such as names, numbers, to do lists, etc. the larger is for the brainstorming sessions, webinar notes, and some massive website site maps. 

tip no. 02 -- don't be afraid to use word.

using word or excel or even notepad to type up phone lists, to dos, and other projects and tips will help keep your work space pulled together and looking crisp. for a long time my back wall was littered with multi-colored post-it notes with scribbles and illegible notes, and it drove me nuts. i found that i was pulling them off half way through my day and getting completely distracted from what needed to be accomplished. once i simplified my lists on the computer it served a couple great purposes 1) obviously de-cluttering my back wall and 2) providing an electronic copy that i could send to co-workers or save in case i needed to reference anything on the go. 

top no. 03 -- also, don't be afraid to list out your long term goals. 

this is kind of self explanatory. don't be afraid to list out your long term goals. if your office is anything like mine, you have a lot of them. typing them up and tacking them into the wall helps every now and then when i get some free time to dedicate my efforts to putting some energy into our more long term efforts. this doesn't really stop at long term goals though, don't be afraid to list out more short term efforts as well. daily tasks can be worked out on paper, but sometimes it can be helpful to list out weekly and monthly goals as well. 

tip no. 04 -- designate an area for personal belongings. 

how many times have you finished your day at work and have not been able to find your keys? ok truthfully, for me, not that many. twice, actually. but twice, was too many. so ever since those frightful days {yes i did freak out a little} i have made it a point to set aside a space on my desk for keys, wallet, phone, glasses, etc. 

tip no. 05 -- use your trays, for more than just catch-alls. 

for the longest time, i threw randomness into these things. anything, everything, went in the trays. then one day, i got fed up. i dumped my trays in a pile and realized more than half the things i was stashing in them were trash. so i decided to simplify. one tray for personal belongings, one for my pile of tasks, and one designated tray for my employment information {timesheets, etc.}. i've found that for me this system works best. it makes me feel more in control not seeing the clutter that can build up in the office. 

tip no. 06 -- map out brainstorming sessions on a dry erase or bulletin board. 

i love my dry erase board. with five companies running out of one office, our dry erase board serves as a road map to everything we're scheming about. having a specific place to draw out the "big picture" helps not only keep us on track but also prevents the build up of clutter from random papers throughout the meeting.

tip no. 07 -- keep a portion of your desk cleared off at all times. 

having a section of your desk cleared off at all times will help you to focus on one thing at a time. my free space is right in front of my computer. i already shared with you all the trays where i keep my pile of tasks, along with some other office tid bits. throughout the course of my day i will pull something from the pile to work on and having it right in front of me in my cleared area helps to focus all of my attention on that one thing instead of jumping from project to project, or having to rifle through a stack of papers. 

tip no. 08 -- layout your desk in the order of importance. 

when i first started working in an office setting a read a bunch of articles about ways to maintain organization in your workspace. at the top of every list, was placement of office supplies. to sum up the articles and my personal experience, if you use something every day, every hour, every other minute even, it should be right next to you. at most, and arm's length away. the last thing you want to be doing every time you need to staple something is wheeling over to find the stapler. the things i like to keep closest are my stapler, paper clips, scratch paper, and my tub o' pens. based on what you use on the daily, pick and choose as you see fit. 

last but not least:

tip no. 09 -- keep your filing supplies close, and your files closer.

filing. it may or may not be your worst nightmare. but no matter your relationship, positive or negative, with filing, it's essential to keeping a tidy office. i have two main filing bins, one for our charter companies, and one for weddings. they're located right about my office, nestled in the marker slot for our whiteboard. having them close at hand help to ensure that if a paper or file needs a new home i have the proper tools just a reach away. having blank and empty manila folders on hand is also very helpful in taking care of paper build up and clutter. the more equipped you are to handle the mess the easier it will be to keep things straightened and professional looking.

i hope these tips helped you do a little maintenance in your own office, or maybe even a complete overhaul fit for some reality television. either way, leave a comment and let me know what you thought! i'd love to hear from you!!

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