Over the last year I’ve spent an … unexpected … amount of time at my home office, which is really a desk I shoved into my kitchen. A few weeks ago I realized it had become more of a junk drawer than a desk, with a graveyard of half-empty coffee mugs in the corner, a pile of accumulating sweaters on my chair, and a rotating collection of dog toys. It was affecting my work, and so I figured it was time to get organized.
Getting organized isn’t for everyone. Some of us thrive in chaos, but evidence suggests that getting and staying organized can have psychological benefits. It can help us feel a sense of control, cut down on frustration and feel calmer, and improve attention and focus. Here are some tips and tricks to getting and keeping your workspace organized, despite whatever chaos surrounds you.
Grab your garbage can
It’s easy to accumulate unnecessary stuff on our workspaces when we spend so much time at them. Any significant change deserves a good purge, and when it comes to getting your space organized, the first step is to get rid of whatever you don’t need, or in my case, get those half-empty mugs into the dishwasher where they belong. Getting rid of whatever isn’t necessary or belongs on your desk will help you see what you’re working with, and getting organized will feel less overwhelming.
Everything in its home
Every item on your desk or within your workspace should have a designated place. Having a place for everything will help you stay organized with ease. That means pens in the pen cup instead of strewn all over the place! When things are in their rightful place, you’ll save time and stress when you need to find them. Rather than tearing apart the room looking for a pen, just get in the habit of putting them back in the container!
Purge then purchase
Once you’ve gotten rid of what doesn’t serve you in your workspace, help yourself out by purchasing some things that will. Maybe a big calendar that you can write important dates on will help you meet deadlines, or maybe a sunlamp will help keep you productive and happy during the cold winter months.
Keep work at work
If you are like so many of us and have had to transition from working in an office full-time to mostly or partially working from home, then you know firsthand how hard it is to balance work and life. Make sure you have a designated workspace in your home to help keep some barriers between work and life. At the end of your workday, make sure your work materials are in your workspace ready for the next day, to keep you from checking emails late into the night.
From desk to desktop
If you have a job that requires you to spend a lot of time on your computer, it’s worth organizing that too. Your job will feel a lot easier if your home screen is made up of a few easy-to-find folders, rather than a cacophony of stray Word docs and forgotten screenshots. This part takes some serious time, but it’s so worth it in the end. Put on a good podcast, open that dreaded “library” tab, and get ready to do some serious dragging over to the trash icon.
Getting and staying organized can seriously help improve mental health, and help you thrive in your personal life and professional life. Happy organizing!
Quick wins for getting organized
- Purge what you don’t need
- Limit mugs, water cups, and seltzer cans
- Keep everything in its home
- Purchase organizers, like a big calendar or a pen divider to make staying organized easier
- Keep distracting decor to a minimum
- Invest in cabinets or a drawer system
- Keep your workspace for work
- Organize your emails
- Spend time organizing your computer’s desktop
- Organize as you go!