It is estimated that the average executive spends about six weeks every year searching for papers they need. If that research has a ring of truth as far as you are concerned, those lost minutes every day rifling through draws and piles of paper to find what you want, soon add up to a lot of time wasted.
Despite the ideal of a paperless office, it is a goal that is hard to attain. Having accepted that you are probably always going to be dealing with a regular onslaught of paper landing on your desk, you need to find a way of organising it efficiently.
Make sure you have enough filing trays and cabinets to keep things neat rather than fanning the paperwork across your busy desk. There is a wide range of suitable filing solutions available from office supplies companies like Engelbert Strauss, so decide what you need and fight back against the deluge of paper.
A good tip would be to arrange your paperwork into what is unprocessed, such as bills, memos etc, into a neat set of trays ready for looking at later. Anything you have read and dealt with, get it away from your desk and filed or shredded as quickly as possible.
You can soon waste precious work time each day by regularly getting up to go and find some paperwork that you need or to send a fax.
If you have a regular pattern of work and have certain tasks that you carry out each day, try to arrange your office so that everything you need is within easy reach. If your desk is big enough, use something like a literature sorter or a desktop filing system so that all your paperwork is neatly filed but instantly available.
Also try to organise your desk space so that you have room for a fax machine or printer if you use either of these frequently.
Home office zones
Many more of us are now working from a home office and this has its advantages but it also presents some challenges too.
Space restrictions can often mean that your office may have to double up and be used for another purpose after your working day is done. To be able to work efficiently and enjoy a productive day without too many distractions, you need to create zones within the room.
Have a dedicated space for work and a space for living or storage and never attempt to combine the two areas or let them mingle.
Use your desk drawers
Most office desks can end up being cluttered by having a number of essential pieces of office equipment taking up valuable space.
Look at trying to hide away your office supplies like paper clips, staplers and all the other bits and pieces that we often accumulate. Use your drawers and the filing tray that you often find inside it, or get one from your supplier.
If you are surrounded by chaos and mess then this can affect your mindset and hinder your chances of being as productive as you could be.
A classic scenario in many offices is to see a bookcase that has become the dumping ground for everything you can’t find a proper home for or when you were last having a quick tidy of your desk space.
Take a moment to organise your bookshelves into categories and so that everything looks in order. It is calming to see things in your surroundings that are stored in a consistent manner and when it all looks so easy on the eye, it will help you to feel more in control of your environment and probably less stressed as well.
Very few of us actually enjoy the luxury of having enough space in our office to cope comfortably with everything we need to keep there.
This means that compromises have to be made as well as making sure you make your immediate environment as clean and tidy as possible. Get everything in order and easily accessible and you will almost certainly boost your productivity levels.
About the Author: Ewan Miles embodies the businessman spirit. With years of experience running his own office, he loves blogging about his insights and techniques into building a successful workplace.