Spring Cleaning Your Office

By Joshua Zerkel

Clutter, both physical and digital, is not only annoying – it can get in the way of you being productive and getting your important work done. With the change of season, now’s a great time to take stock of what you have, jettison what you don’t, and make a plan for keeping your office clutter at bay. Here’s how:

Physical clutter. If you’re tripping over things scattered around your desk or have to go on an archeological dig when it’s time to find an important document, it’s time to start clearing through any physical clutter in your workspace. Set a timer for an hour and see how much clutter you can clear. Take a quick tour of the things around your desk and your office, and if you haven’t used it in more than six months or a year, donate or discard it. If you haven’t cleared your clutter in an hour, set aside an hour a day until you’ve discarded all the things you no longer need.
Go paperless. If part of your clutter challenge is dealing with too much paper, maybe it’s time to consider setting up a paperless document management system. Scan important documents into a tool like Evernote Business (evernote.com/business), shred the files you no longer need, and recycle the junk you never wanted in the first place. Get a scanner for your desk so you can deal with new paper right away without waiting for it to pile up.
Tidy the tech. Over the past year, have you signed up for a laundry-list of online services, downloaded dozens of apps, and bought gizmos that have gone unused? Take a few minutes to review what’s on your computer and mobile device, and see if you’re really using all the tools that you’ve bought or registered for. Contact your local hazardous waste facility to properly dispose of tech trash, and delete accounts from online services you no longer use (or never did in the first place).
Find a level. Adopt the “one in, one out” rule to keep office clutter at bay over the course of the next year. Essentially, as you buy something new – a book, a desk accessory, a piece of furniture, or art for your wall – let something else go. This will maintain a constant level of “stuff” in your space and prevent it from getting overcrowded with things you no longer need or use.

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