Clever Office Organization Tips (The Transformation Continues!)
Welcome to the second installation of my Office Transformation Series!
You may recall that I had a moment of clarity when I walked into my office several weeks ago and realized I needed a CHANGE, and I needed it bad. (You can read more about it here and see what I did first to begin my office transformation!).
Whitney Port’s Office on One Kings Lane – bright and beautiful
Today, it’s all about organizing our workspaces.
As you saw from last time, my office is a mess of papers, fabric samples and empty boxes. Let’s just say I’m not the right person to give advice about organizing!
So, I’m turning to a real professional. My colleague Angela Kantarellis of AKOrganizing is one of the premier professional organizers in New York City (Angela is down-to-earth and unassuming so she may not tell you that she’s become a favorite with celebrities in NYC. BUT I WILL TELL YOU! While I can’t divulge exactly who some of her star-studded clients are, I will say Bethenny Frankel is a huge fan and actually tweeted about her).
Angela agreed to give away some of her top tips when it comes to organizing our workspaces. Let’s see what she has to say:
1) Angela, I’m about to organize my workspace. What’s the absolute first thing I should do?
Hi Lorri! The first thing you want to do is create a blank canvas. Take everything off your desk and wipe it down. A clear surface provides an instant sense of order and clarity.
2) Wow, that’s great advice. What are the top organizing mistakes you see your clients make?
The first mistake people make is not honoring their personal organizing style. For example – are you a piler or filer? If you are a piler, a traditional filing system won’t work for you. You may need to use shelves with bins or trays to keep papers organized.
The second mistake people make is going for quick fix solutions – Quick fix solutions offer the promise of magically whipping years of clutter and disorganization into shape. If you see a storage product or new piece of technology that seems to offer a quick fix, hold off, it may just wind up as another piece of clutter, frustration and ultimately a waste of money. If the product doesn’t match your personal style, it will not work for you long term. Whether for weight loss or organizing, quick fixes rarely work. Know that like anything worthwhile, getting organized takes time!
Another big mistake people make is keeping broken technology around. It just creates clutter. Make sure your computer, printer and phone are up to date and work well. Take the hard-drive out of your old computer and physically destroy it. Take your old technology to Staples or BestBuy for recycling.
Another big mistake is letting stuff pile up. My philosophy is guided by William Morris who said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. A good rule of thumb is to kep only the things you need and love. Let the rest go.
3) Paper paper paper! I have so much paper everywhere. What steps should I take to organize myself?
When paper piles up it’s usually because there’s no system in place to keep things moving. Use these three tools to stay organized; an inbox, a desk top file sorter, a “to file” box and of course a filing system to store papers you need to keep longer term. The most important thing is to keep paper flowing and have a place for each stage from “to do” to done.
4) What’s your favorite organizing product?
One of my favorite organizing products is the 5 Section Acrylic Divided Tray. It’s a great way to organized your office supplies. It fits perfectly inside a desk drawer and is attractive enough to keep on top of your desk.
5) I have trouble managing my time – any great tips or tricks to organize myself from a scheduling perspective?
Group like items together into buckets of time and divide the day into morning and afternoon. For example, schedule all your networking meetings on Wednesday mornings, writing your newsletter on Monday afternoon. Keep things consistent week after week. Our brains like routine.
6) What about for my smart phone or computer – any apps or websites I should know about that will help me get my work life organized?
I recently started using AnyDo to manage my tasks and to-dos. I love the clean interface and the way it’s organized into Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming and Some Day. It’s a great way to think about things and prioritize.
Angela, thank you so much for your clear and concise advice. Your wise words are so appreciated!
By the way, I took some of Angela’s advice to heart and started organizing my own office using her tips. I’ll give you all an update in a few days!