Time Management – 6 How-To Tips to Organize Your Workspace for Greater Productivity

Tidy_DeskWhether you work in an office location or your office is in your home, you need a workspace that helps you day run smoothly and efficiently. How you organize your workspace powerfully affects your mind… and your productivity.

Many people think they like their workspace disorganized and cluttered. And usually they can find just about anything in the mess… except when they really need it – how much will that slow down an otherwise productive day? But when people organize their office and, “clear the decks (desks) for action,” they see a vast improvement in productivity. Liking your clutter means you are not working at your most productive!

  1. Seating
    Head for your local office store and find a comfortable and durable swivel chair with wheels. Though the exercise getting up to get things is good, the productivity boost of just being able to, “glide” to what you need speeds your day. Because you will spend many hours in this chair, the other major criteria to look for is comfort, which should include lower back (lumbar) support. As you equip your workspace always keep comfort top of mind – any discomfort is, really, a distraction.
  2. Lighting
    Get bright, energy saving (my desk lamp has a compact fluorescent bulb) adjustable lighting that’s suitable for daytime or nighttime. It should illuminate your working area smoothly without hotspots or glare. The natural light from nearby windows make great energy saving light sources (as I write this, my desk lamp is off as I am getting lots of light from outside), but never try to work in low light – make sure your work area is well illuminated to save eye strain and productivity draining fatigue.
  3. Scheduling
    A bulletin board or whiteboard in easy view lets you display positive affirmations, motivational quotes, and quick reminders where you can see them easily. Your daily planner (Organize your life with FranklinCovey!) should be conveniently viewable on your desk to keep you on track for your day. This combined with alarms on your smart phone or computer will keep you on track, focused, and not missing a thing.
  4. De-Cluttering
    Ideally, the only thing on your desk at any one time is what you are working on at that moment. Everything else is stored away until you need it. You should only have things you use daily out on your desk. Most desks have a pencil drawer… use it to get rid of the unsightly pencil cup. Current projects should be in folders in a drawer beside you. Take ONE project out of the drawer when you’re scheduled to work on it. When you’re done, put it back in the drawer, and take out the next project you have scheduled yourself to work on. You’ll be amazed at the focus you can bring to projects if they are the ONLY THING YOU CAN SEE. That also includes, “might use” items. If you don’t use it all the time, put it away. This is one of the advantages of properly scheduling your work… you can keep distractions from – distracting you.
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  5. Cleaning
    Schedule clean-up time at the end every day. You’ll be amazed at how coming into a clean office in the morning improves your outlook on the day. Since no one can possibly be clutter-free all day long, schedule a quick tidying up of your work area at the end of each day. Then, a weekly clean to dust, empty the trash, and vacuum. Again, seeing a clean office is a great, fresh start to each day.
  6. Eating
    Though I have been guilty of this often, eating at your desk really isn’t the best. First, getting out of the building, or at least to the kitchen, to grab you mid-day meal gives you a head-clearing break that will help you be more productive in the latter part of the day. AND… food and drink detrimental to computer health. Crumbs in the keyboard and coffee in the monitor can quickly bring your thinking, or even a full day to a halt. The best way to avoid this problem is avoid eating at your desk – so take the break.

Once you get your office and desk cleared for action, you’ll find you actually need less time to organize – and that’s as it should be. And don’t use organizing as another word for procrastinating. Once you have your desk cleared, and your work scheduled, you’ll find that your productivity increases – dramatically. Make organizing your workspace and scheduling your work a habit, and you’ll find your productivity increasing automatically.

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