Is it time to organise your office and desk?

- September 23, 2006 2 MIN READ

Is your office or desk packed with excess clutter? Do things need to be consolidated or trimmed down? If so, it’s time to organise your office and desk to gain some power back.

Common office organisation killers include:

  • Filing cabinets bulging with once-read articles.
  • Magazines in the ‘to be read’ pile which have been moved into a larger tray because it outgrew the old one.
  • Web pages we printed out and kept because we like the way they described something.
  • Correspondence from five years ago in hard and/or soft copy because we may need to refer to it ‘one day’.
  • A computer filing system that has so many layers you spend most of your time in the search function trying to remember what you called the damn thing.

We are all guilty of this information bulge. It fills our office and office desk with too much information that we can’t possible hope to process. And the sheer act of having it all there – unread, untidy or un-accessed – niggles away at us over time.

It’s time to lose some weight! Make a commitment. If you are one of those hoarding types, you’ll need to enlist someone else’s aid to organise your office and desk.

Set aside half a day, get yourself some giant recycling bins and garbage bins and get started.

Attack the piles of paper and magazines first. Trust me, you’ll feel better when some of the visible stuff disappears.

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Get rid of it if:

  • you’ve had it for more than 12 months without looking at it or referencing it
  • you can’t remember why you kept something in the first place
  • you’ve moved on from that time when you needed it.

Next up: the filing cabinet. Same principle, but even more ruthless. Any file called ‘Miscellaneous’ goes straight in the bin, no need to even look inside. And do you really need a whole file for technology you might never buy? You get my drift.

Finally, the electronic filing system. You may need a half day for this job alone. Start by actually creating a whole new file structure from scratch. If you could arrange things in any way at all, how would they look? Create your new structure and begin moving the relevant files into their new homes. And just because you can keep a mind boggling amount of stuff on your PC, doesn’t mean you should.

If you are really feeling energised you can start to look at your email filing system: another challenging database that grows exponentially.

Too much information is an insidious and silent distracter. You will feel so good and righteous after you’ve finished this exercise – like the satisfaction you’d get from shifting a spare tyre of weight.

Are you an information hoarder? Or have you got any office organisation success stories to share? Tell me about them via the contact form.