Small changes, big results: Create desk space to boost productivity

Messy Desk | Organization

Chances are you are working in a workspace that doesn’t seem to have enough desk surface. Even though you may have adequate file drawer space, you’d rather have your working files visible and at your fingertips. You tried to organize by placing piles of folders and papers on your desk into different categories. Unfortunately those teetering piles constantly try to creep into open spaces. Besides, digging through the mounds of information to get your hands on what you need eats up valuable time.

The solution mimics what urban planners learned long ago—go vertical. A simple in and out box system isn’t going to cut it because you have numerous project files that are in various stages of development. One of the best and most productive solutions utilizes six or more stackable side-load letter trays. Now you can designate a corner of your desk for one stack of trays and leave the rest of the space open for working.

Organize your files in one of several different ways:

  • Sort by importance. Use the top tray for projects you need to work on first and label the tray “today.” Designate several other “action needed” trays for files you will tackle later, such as “this week,” “next week” and “later this month.” Reserve one or more “hold” trays for files of projects for which you are waiting for feedback.
  • Sort by topic. Assign each tray a category based on how you group your projects. Example: If you handle international accounts, you may find it useful to sort your clients by regions such as “local,” “east coast,” “west coast,” “Europe,” “Asia” and “other.”
  • Alphabetize. Arrange the files on the trays in alphabetical order and then rely on your to-do list and calendar for organizing your tasks.

What other organizing tools have been successful in your workspace?

[Image Source: Boise]

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