Is Your Desk a Mess?

How you operate in your business on a day-to-day basis is just as important as how you serve your clients. Organizing and de-cluttering your office, optimizing office space, establishing routine, and implementing effective workflow systems are just a few ways to reduce stress, increase productivity, and ultimately provide more productive hours in the day.

 The Top 10 List

  1. Start each day by reviewing your To Do list. Throughout the day, cross items off as you complete them and add new items as they are presented. Paper or electronic lists are both acceptable.
  2. Know your personal peak energy hours. Organize your day and focus on concentration-rich projects during this time period.
  3. Have adequate desk or work surface. It is important that your work area provides enough flat surface area to spread out the materials you need to do the task at hand. Remove decorative and unneeded items from the desk surface if space is limited.
  4.  Control interruptions and set proper boundaries. Drop-by visits, personal phone calls, and continually checking your phone for messages and status updates eats up valuable time.
  5. Focus. If you are easily distracted, remove all items from your workspace that are not related to your current project.
  6. Use a calendar. Keep a calendar on your desk, your computer, or your phone, to record upcoming meetings and appointments. Do not rely on sticky notes as they often get misplaced or stuck to other paperwork and there is nothing worse that missing an important meeting because you did not enter it onto your calendar.
  7. Unsubscribe and set up email filters. If you are inundated with emails on a daily basis, unsubscribe from mailing lists that are clogging up your Inbox. Create filters and rules to route incoming emails to folders based on your preferences.
  8. Use a contact management system. Set up email templates and auto-responders when appropriate. Process business cards from associates or networking affiliates within one week. Once you have entered the information into your database, toss the cards and try to remember not to take those cards again. Business cards are a source of clutter and create overwhelm.
  9. Set aside blocks of time. If practical, rather than opening emails as they arrive, try to block time each day to read and respond; clean out your Inbox (electronic and paper); follow-up with phone calls, work on administrative tasks, and file paperwork.
  10. Review and Repeat. At the end of each day, review your To Do list and in order of priority, transfer the items not completed to the next day’s To Do list.