By Clare Kumar
Simply tailoring your workspace to suit you and how you like to work will boost your productivity. People are different sizes and shapes and have different learning styles and responses to their environments. Some things in your office may be working well for you, but chances are your space could be further customized to suit your preferences and work style so you can work more efficiently. Worth exploring?
Here are three important steps to take to get the most out of the following weeks as we tackle organizing your workspace:
1. List what currently frustrates you about working in your space.
It could be things such as recurring neck pain when using the computer, not being able to find files, suffering too many interruptions, glare from the afternoon sun, a calendar that’s never up to date, or bills that go unpaid. You get the idea. This is your chance to think about your daily work experience and identify what’s not working. Rank this list in order or frustration. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to think positive.
2. Define the benefits you will value from being more productive.
What if you could solve the problems you’ve just identified? What would the benefit be to eliminating neck pain, for example? What will the impact be of increasing your physical comfort and reducing stress on your body? Will it affect your relationships? How about the ability to accomplish more in less time? Think through what you will actually do with the additional time.
Organizing tools are critical to creating an efficient and effective workspace. Tools help us group like items together, identify and contain items for easy retrieval, and place items in the most comfortable position for use.
However, not all tools are created equal. It is important to consider how and where you will use an item to make sure you’re making the right investment. Sometimes a cheap solution can turn into an expensive one if it doesn’t solve the problem or hold up to use.
When deciding which tools, consider:
1. The purpose.
Be very clear on the organizing problem you are trying to solve. For example, rather than just thinking “I need a place to store my paper documents”. Think about how you would like to refer to the information, how often and for how long. Identify how much information must be referred to at the same time. This might lead you away from traditional filing to selecting binders which keep information in sequence. You might consider adding page protectors to preserve documents.
2. How it will be used.
If you’re purchasing a tool that will be used frequently, be used to invest in sturdy equipment. Everything from staplers and hole punches, to binders and drawer organizers, come in a variety of qualities and at different price points. I have seen many offices with broken stapler collections. Buy once and buy well.
3. Where it will be used.
Before purchasing a tool, think of where it will ‘live’. If tools are difficult to retrieve and use they will often be ignored. It may mean taking the time to create space to store an item or a work surface for a specific activity.
One of the most common mistakes people make when organizing is shopping for organizing tools too early, before determining what will really work. Before investing in organizing tools, it is also important to understand the options available to you, your preferences, and the budget. The greater the investment, the more you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice.
ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.