a-to-z HEADER [2015] - april

Many people struggle with organization. It’s one of those things that most people want, but few are able to achieve. One look at organizing boards on pinterest is enough to make even the well organized person give up trying. Because honestly, organizing is a huge undertaking, and it’s difficult to know where to start.

There are zillions of tips for organizing that, when taken as a whole, can be very overwhelming.

So when it comes to productivity and my physical space, the main thing for me is to pick my battles. It’s a theme with me… baby steps.

Organize Your Work Space – Just a Little

I use my home office for writing. But since my computer is here, it’s also where I do my non-profit work as well as running the household. Being that this space is multi-use, it’s easy to lose things and get cluttered.

So I instituted a system in my office where I’ve segmented the physical space for each “department” where I work. This isn’t an elaborate or perfect system, but it’s made a huge impact on being a little more organized.

I find it most valuable when I am working on one project and I can pull all the stuff I need out for that project. And when I am done, I can put it back and take out something else without struggling with too much clutter.

Segment your Physical Space by Department

We all have departments in our lives. Work, home, family, pets, kids, school, medical, hobbies… Each of these departments have sub-departments which generate paperwork and other stuff that we need to keep.

Whether you have different baskets for each department, or opt for boxes, shelves, or beautifully coordinated office products, dividing your physical space by department is a valuable way to stay organized.

Personally, I use bookcases to separate my main departments. I have a writing area, a non-profit area, and a household area. Each department has an inbox, a filing space, and separate containers for the things within that department that I need to keep separate and handy.

Depending on what kinds of things I’m managing, I use folders, binders, magazine organizers, plastic bins, etc.  Are these areas always neat and tidy? No. But when it is time to tidy up, having a general area dedicated to each thing makes cleaning up easier too.

Departments Can Simplify Clutter

Giving your work area departments makes it easier to file and find things. We’re not a paperless society just yet, and until that day comes, the department method helps keep some clutter at bay.

My inboxes are stacked with unfiled papers, but it definitely helps knowing that things for my kids’ school would only be in that specific area of my office. And the notes I printed about the writer’s conference I’m attending wouldn’t be filed with the paperwork from the vet.

So… consider breaking up your work space by department if you’re constantly overwhelmed with clutter. It’s an easy first step for big-picture changes.

How do you organize your physical work space?

About the Author Corinne

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