Start by clearing the clutter--paper and electronic clutter, including email. The more clutter you have, the less productive you are. Every time you have to touch a piece of paper to find another piece of paper or scan electronic documents, you lose time.
Diary it for follow-up.
Here are some tips to help you keep your workspace clutter-free:
- Create one or more piles of everything that is not in its place. Do not forget the stuff piled on windowsills and under the furniture.
- Eliminate “clutter” boxes and “miscellaneous” piles. Everything needs a place and a label.
- Create an in-box, out-box, and to-file box on your desk. Empty your in-box and to-file box before you leave each day.
- Discard what you no longer need or use.
- Set aside 15 minutes a day or clear one pile a week until the clutter is gone. Some people have such large piles, they clear by the inch!
- Go through each pile and look at each piece of paper or document once.
- If you need to take action or make a decision, do it now.
- If you need more information, get it now or request it and diary the item for follow up.
- If you need to read it, create a “To Read” file for clippings. Carry this file with you and read clippings from it whenever you need to wait.
- If you may need this piece of paper again and you already have a file set up, file it now. If not, set up a file. If you don’t need it, recycle it or toss it now.
- Store and stack materials and supplies properly.
- Use the right equipment for your job and place it for ergonomic and efficient use.
- Use equipment for the purpose for which it was intended.
- Don’t fill up all your space. Leave room for growth and new materials.
- Keep it neat and orderly going forward.