You may rely too much on technology when it comes to getting organized. Tablets, laptops, email, cloud storage systems and other high-tech organizing solutions provide great resources for keeping your business on track, but visual chaos in the workspace causes distractions and reduces productivity. A few simple, low-tech solutions can help you reduce clutter and improve performance.
Studies show that clutter in the workspace decreases productivity. This is due to the visual distraction it causes and the mental stress created by the subconscious desire to reduce the clutter. Getting organized and clearing the clutter not only improves productivity, but it also reduces the risk of costly mistakes caused by losing or misplacing important documents and messages. It also helps you look more professional when you have an organized space.
One way to reduce clutter is to use drawers and cabinets more effectively. Divided trays create instant organization for drawers, and racks make it easier to sort items in cabinets. While many ready-made options exist to help you get organized, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on them. A sheet of cheap plywood, a circular saw and some sandpaper are all that is needed to create shelves and dividers to fit into any space. If you are feeling creative, slap a coat of paint on your new shelves. Painting them different colors to represent different tasks or needs takes your organizing efforts to the next level.
A message board also helps you get organized. Saved emails and notes on a computer or tablet are great for portability, but you only see them when you are actually thinking about them. A message board provides a place to put your important notes and messages where you have to see them, whether you are thinking about them or not. The act of writing something down on paper also stimulates a different part of the brain than typing something on a computer, which sometimes helps improve creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
When getting organized, try not to overthink it. If you have trouble sorting items into categories and subcategories, try sorting them by priority instead. For instance, have a folder for things that need to be done today, another one for things that need to be done tomorrow or within the next week and one more for things that are not time sensitive. Once you clear out the things that need to be done today, tackle a few of the less time-sensitive items. At the end of the day, move the stuff that needs to be done tomorrow into the today folder so that it is waiting for you in the morning.
Getting organized does not have to be a huge ordeal. Start small, with a few low-tech solutions. Focus your efforts on the areas that are within your sight-range when you are working to minimize distractions. Find DIY solutions to reduce costs. Most importantly, keep in mind that you are getting organized for yourself, not other people. Organize things in ways that make sense to you.
(Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net)