How to Organize a Workspace

  • Declutter
  • Create a System
  • Control Supplies
  • Create Work Zones
  • Balance Personal Items

Following tips for an organized workspace is not just about keeping things looking tidy. A well-organized workspace means more productivity. Distractions are reduced, and no more time is wasted looking for lost items. Here are five ways to get organized at work.

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1. Declutter

This is a lot of work up front, but in the end, it will pay off with greater overall efficiency. However, it can be hard to know where to start. One approach is to work on one area at a time, such as a drawer or a section of desk. Everything that is not necessary for the immediate job should be discarded or set aside to be organized later.

2. Create a System

Once the decluttering is finished, it’s time to get organized. There are plenty of products that can help with this, including colored file folders, labelers, boxes and more. For some people, it can be tempting to use these systems to avoid decluttering. Rather than throw out a lot of unnecessary items, they might be tempted to “organize” them into the new filing system. It is important to be aware of this and avoid it. For the paperwork and other items that should be kept, colors can provide a great visual cue for finding necessary things quickly in an organized workspace.

3. Control Supplies

Pens, pencils, legal pads, sticky notes and other supplies are part of the overall organizational system, but they deserve their own category. It is reasonable to keep a small surplus of these supplies around because it can be inefficient to have to stop in the middle of a task to rummage in the supply closet for a notebook. CIO suggests making a stack of office supplies and moving each one from the stack at is used during the day. Those that are not used daily should be placed in a drawer or returned to the supply cabinet for a more organized workspace.

4. Create Work Zones

The Huffington Post suggests work zones for computer tasks and noncomputer tasks. Some experts suggest keeping a place permanently clear for signing documents. These works zones not only prevent having to constantly shift things around when switching tasks but can also lighten the cognitive load. People get used to associating different areas of the office or desk with different tasks and it makes switching to those tasks simpler.

5. Balance Personal Items

Some experts say that part of decluttering and creating an organized workspace is getting rid of as many personal objects as possible. They point out that these are distractions, and they make the eye and the brain work harder. However, the point of organizing an office is to increase productivity, and one element of productivity is being comfortable. Desks should not be so crowded with personal items that they interfere with the workspace, but minimalism is not optimal for everyone either. People should aim to streamline this element of their workspace, but they should also do so within parameters that are comfortable.

An important thing to remember about having an organized workspace is that it is not a one-time task. On a weekly basis, people should take a few minutes to scan the area and make sure that there is not too much clutter and that space is being used in an efficient way. These tips for an organized workspace can be reviewed regularly to make sure that productivity is maximized.