Keep Calm and Organize On

By: Caroline Thomas

Recently, I had two weekends in town back to back (in between planning a wedding).FullSizeRender I tore through my home like a tornado, tackling all the things I’ve been avoiding.  It felt so good to minimalize, clean, and organize. I even broke down and cleaned out my personal email because I recently had someone notice the absurd amount of emails in my email icon on my phone home screen. I can’t remember the last time I did that!

 I was feeling pretty accomplished and proud of myself… Until I came into work the following Monday to a jumbled email inbox, papers strewn across my desk, and notes reminding me of “to-dos” from the previous week. That’s when I realized I needed to bring the productiveness of my home spring cleaning to work with me! From that experience, I came up with three quick tips to kick off your office spring cleaning.

  1. Tidy up in ten! Set aside five to ten minutes each day. If you take that time before you head home, you can prepare yourself for the next day so that you don’t come in to the office stressed out at 8 am. Over the course of the week, this can add up to 25-50 minutes, instead of waiting until Friday afternoon when you’re just thinking about getting out of the office.
  1. Offsite and Online. It’s hard to clean up your desk and file important documents when you have no place to store them because your drawers and baskets are full. If it’s something you don’t immediately need but should keep on file (like payment records several years back) then place them in a box and send them to a secure storage unit. Old materials can also be scanned and uploaded to a company drive or a site like Dropbox or Copy if you want quick access to them but only may need them occasionally.
  1. Outshine Outlook! Utilize the features of your email software; they’re there for good reason, I promise. Managing e-mails for several different clients and projects at the same time can get difficult if you don’t have a routine. This article I recently read gives great tips for using Microsoft Outlook (http://lifehacker.com/12-tips-and-tricks-to-work-faster-in-microsoft-outlook-1540483009). In addition to the tips listed here, I now use the color coding features to keep my emails categorized.  Archiving your e-mails and creating folders (and more importantly sub-folders) really streamlines this process.

These three tips should really help jump start your spring cleaning efforts. With any luck, you can maintain these tips year round for a more productive and inspired work space. With 50% of our waking hours spent at the office each work week, this is paramount to staying on top of your projects.

CarolineThomasBio

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