Simple Spaces, Productive Spaces

Published Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:44 PM


Anyone who has ever had to root around a cluttered desk in search of a needed item understands a simple truth: too much stuff adds up to disorganization and compromised productivity. Take a minute to look around your work space; would you describe it as well-organized and streamlined? Or cluttered and complicated?

Simple spaces, which are both streamlined in terms of form (bye bye clutter) and function (think hassle free organization systems), minimize stress and disorganization and maximize productivity. Follow our steps for creating simple, efficient workspaces that promote order and ease.

Less is More: To begin, eliminate the unnecessary. Toss old newspapers, magazines, coffee cups, unused office accessories and clutter. Pare down your paperwork by giving your desktop piles and cabinet files a thorough onceover, shredding what's not needed. Create room in filing cabinets by archiving old paperwork in file boxes stored elsewhere.

Create a Clean Slate:  Next, give all your office surfaces a make-over. Empty all shelves and surfaces, creating clean, clear spaces. Assess all items, restoring only those that you use daily or that you love seeing. All others go into the trash or donation bin. Be ruthless, you are creating breathing room for yourself so take the purge seriously.

Tackle Drawers: Too often drawers are catchalls of unused items. Out-of-sight is out of mind so consider placing needed items in clear canisters on your desk or shelves. Keep drawers in tip top shape by clearing out unnecessary items and grouping like supplies (i.e. post-it-notes, pens, staples) together. Devote one drawer to office supplies and use others to corral personal items (umbrellas, toiletries, galoshes, etc.) that would otherwise clutter your office.

Light it Up: Be sure your desk has a bright, attractive task light. Office fluorescents don't provide adequate illumination; task lighting provides both better lighting and ambiance.

Outside the In-Box: Think outside the in-box for organization. If you respond best to visuals, use oversized memo boards to keep track of needed documents or calendar items. If you prefer paper files, invest in a small desktop file organizer to keep daily paperwork within reach. Are you better with digital, rather than paper files? Don't waste time filing paper you'll never retrieve. Scan and toss all paper files. Bottom line: pick an organizational system that works for you and stick to it.

Ban Junk: Keep clutter at bay by refusing to let it in. Leave conference swag such as free tee shirts, notebooks, pens and silly giveaways behind. No desk drawer needs a hundred sugar packets or paper napkins. Keep those items in the break room where they belong. Stick to a one-post-it-note-at-a-time rule to keep computer monitors and bulletin boards from becoming lost in "reminders." Practice the old "open your mail over the trash" mantra: If you don't let the clutter in, it can't eventually overwhelm you.

Finally, while a simple, streamlined space allows for greater productivity, be sure not to overlook inspiration in your space. Sometimes fresh flowers or an inspiring poster is all that's needed to provide needed motivation.


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# Eleni said on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:13 PM

Thanks!  We need to be reminded of this and we also appreciate additional hints - thank you for bringing up a very relevant topic.  Eleni

# Helen said on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 11:34 PM

Love this article! I read everything I can on organization and keeping my very cluttered office and home clutter free.

# Katharine said on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:18 AM

Yep!  Who couldn't benefit from organizing their workspace at least a little better?  

You guys, I really like your facebook posts.  So many products post self-serving things like "Tell us how you use Tide to remove stains."  I unfriend them--but not you.

# Community Manager said on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 7:29 PM

Thank you for your super comments.  If you have a tip on productivity, technology, creativity or career, please join us at www.facebook/pendaflex and share your Flexpertise!

# Marion Hogarth said on Friday, March 09, 2012 1:25 PM

This article is rignt on point.  I can even apply the tips to my home, which I definitely will.  Too often we save all kinds of unnecessary items.

# Priscilla Horn said on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 12:16 PM

Thank you.  It looks like I'm on the right path to organization.

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# Cerda said on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 11:07 AM

Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my

twitter group? There's a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Cheers

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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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