Staying organized easier after getting organized

  • By Monika Kristofferson Office Efficiency
  • Tuesday, December 24, 2013 1:14pm

Wouldn’t it be nice to wave a magic wand and, poof, your office was organized?

And, no, matches are not an alternate solution here.

Depending on how many piles, stacks and the amount of disarray that you have in your office, getting organized could be a little or a lot of a time and energy investment.

Once you’ve made that investment to get organized, I know you’ll want to stay that way.

Professional organizers will commonly say that organizing is a process, not an event. This is very true.

We can take a space and make it picture perfect with orderly files and neat systems, but then we get stuff out, we get busy and we get distracted. It doesn’t stay picture perfect for long.

But that’s OK!

The reason it’s OK, is that once you are organized and have systems in place, all you have to do is restore order when things get messy. You don’t have to start from scratch.

Here are five strategies to help you stay organized:

Purge often

Make decisions about what to let go of on a regular basis. Some questions you can ask yourself: “Is this information relevant?” “Is there more up-to-date information available online?” “Does someone else have this information?

Don’t forget about your digital files too. Your computer shouldn’t be cluttered and bogged down with irrelevant information.

If you use it, put it back

The great thing about simple tips is that they are easy to implement. It’s very common for us to get things out but not take the time to put them away again. Take just a few minutes to tidy up and put things back after using them. Easy!

Find the bottom of your inbox

Make sure that papers aren’t turning into piles by sorting, prioritizing and purging your inbox regularly. Make it a goal to get to the bottom of your inbox on a daily basis. Even if you don’t hit your goal every time, you’ll still be making progress every week if you get to the bottom of the box several times a week. If you are processing paper daily, it will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks and you don’t miss any important deadlines or due dates.

File regularly

I’ve noticed that filing is usually not considered a fun or high priority task for people and it quickly falls to the bottom of their “to do list.” First, you must have an organized filing system that makes sense and is easy for you to use and navigate. Once that’s in place, it’s important that you schedule time to catch up with filing or delegate that task to someone else to make sure it gets done.

You will save time in the long-run if your files are up-to-date and you can quickly retrieve papers when you need them.

Restore order regularly.

Fifteen minutes a day will help keep the clutter away.

Take a few minutes at the end of each day in your office to clean up, put away supplies and get files in order.

Don’t forget to wipe down your computer and desk from time-to-time, too. Another option is to restore order every Friday to have your office in tip-top shape for the start of a new week.

Take the time to get organized and restore order regularly and you will feel in control in your office every day.

Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer, productivity consultant and trainer who owns Efficient Organization in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or