It is said that maintaining a clean, organized workspace is one of the best ways to ensure a productive day. Aside from the fact that keeping a tidy workspace makes you appear more professional to your boss and coworkers (*cough* perception is reality), there are a host of other benefits that come with an organized environment.
At this public relations agency, we take a lot of pride in organizing our physical and virtual workspaces in a way that allows for maximum productivity. Here are some of our favorite tips for maintaining a clutter-free workspace.
- Start with a good old-fashioned purge! I don’t know about you, but for me, there is nothing more freeing than to de-clutter and get rid of stuff. Look around your space – do you really need that stack of old papers and magazines? Is your monitor littered with post-it note reminders and tasks? Are you actually using and enjoying all those little candles and succulents? Me neither. Get rid of ’em all swiftly! And if you start feeling guilty or overwhelmed, tackle one pile or section of your desk at a time, then give yourself a pat on the back. Remember… progress, not perfection.
- Now that you’ve de-cluttered your space, arrange the items you use the most in a way that makes them easily accessible. Since I am left-handed, I make a point of keeping my notepad and pen to the left of my keyboard. My phone is staged off to the right with enough distance to easily reach it without letting it interfere with my line of sight to my computer monitor. Everything else goes neatly into a nearby tray or out of sight in a drawer.
- Speaking of those post-it note reminders I mentioned above… kill this habit now! There are so many digital resources out there to help you manage your to-do lists, there is never a good reason to clutter your desk and your sightlines with scattered post-it notes. If you are a dinosaur like me and you need to physically write things down, print yourself a grid on one sheet of paper and categorize your tasks accordingly. I make a column for each client, plus a column for miscellaneous tasks, and write my to-dos/reminders under the section which it applies. One piece of paper + everything organized by client = WIN!
- Wrangle your cords. For me, nothing kills a good, clean vibe like a tangled web of cords! There are some great hacks in this HuffPo article for hiding all those unsightly wires.
For most of the workforce, our workspaces extend beyond our physical desks and offices and spill into our digital lives as well. You’ve undoubtedly seen that co-worker whose digital desktop is covered from corner to corner in icons and documents or that friend who can’t seem to get a grasp on her email inbox. (Maybe that person is you?) Here are some of our favorite tips for keeping your virtual workspace on point:
- Create folders and sub-folders in your inbox for items you will want to reference later. For me, this means having a main folder for each client and then sub-folders for things like media requests, press placements, event management, etc. I also have a folder for items like HR updates, Google Alerts, e-newsletters, etc.
- One of my favorite mantras for keeping my inbox organized is “touch it once.” In other words, file your emails the first time you touch them. Once you’ve opened and scrolled onto the next, there is little chance you’ll remember to go back to it later.
- If you can settle something in under two minutes, settle it right then & there; otherwise, aim to settle all your business within 24 hours. Keep unfinished business marked as “unread” until it is settled.
- At the end of the day, scroll through your inbox once more for any stragglers that need to be answered or filed. Also, take a look at your digital desktop at the end of the day and file all items to their permanent home before you check out.
We hope these tips will help inspire you to live your best work life with a clean, organized space. For us, it’s really a must-do to survive the hectic worlds of PR and digital marketing.