Now that you have that fantastic new computer and all kinds of other gadget goodies, you need a good way to keep everything organized! The last thing you want is to to have cords and pieces of gadgets everywhere. Here are five tips to organizing your workspace for maximum productivity:
1. Use stackable storage to maximize the vertical space on your desk. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is with letter trays. You can find them for $2.99 and up at office supply superstores like Office Depot, Staples or Office Max. You can use the letter trays for everything from gadgets – like storing your phone, wireless router, external hard drive and to organizing your papers: inbox, outbox, mail. My coworker uses her top letter tray to hold a fake plant. It adds a little greenery to the office and it does look pretty nice. Here’s an example of a setup. I am going to do mine in August when I move to my new office and post pictures.
2. Reorganize your drawers and files. Do not hesitate to organize your paperwork, drawers and files into an order that make sense to you. Within reaching distance of your chair should be your most frequently used files and items. When you are finished with a project, you can always refile the folders and related documents into another drawer for storage. Also, try limiting the number of color coded folders and labels. 5 shades of purple is not going to help you be organized if you can’t remember if your contracts go in lilac or violet folders. I use 3 colors – red, blue and green. That’s it. Red is for “follow up action needed for current clients”, Blue is for “no action needed for current clients” and Green is for “follow up action needed for potential clients.” You can label your colors whichever way you want – my housemate uses Red for “no action” and Green for “action”. – Just two colored folders.
3. Make use of cord catchers. Instead of having a corded mess behind your desk, buy a pack of baby socks at your local store. Cut the toes off the socks and run the cords through the socks. This is a cheap, yet functional way to keep your cords organized without having to undo the entire set if you need to change out one item. If your cords happen to show, you can always use a color that will blend in with your office decor. I use pink and green socks for my cords. (Thanks for the tip, CB!) If you want a more “professional” look, you can find cord catchers at many online vendors, including Cable Turtles from CableOrganizer.com, Wiremold’s Cablemate Cord Organizer or the Geek Clips Channeled Cord Organizer from OnlineOrganizing.com
4. Use all-in-one devices. Some may argue with me about this point, but using all-in-one devices can be a life saver for those of us with limited storage or desk space. A fax/copy/printer/scanner takes up the space of only one of these devices. Also, they will have less cords to keep organized. Take out a warranty on your new all-in-one device. If something should happen to it, you will have protection against having an all-in-one that no longer works because one component has stopped working. It is very easy to find a reasonably priced all-in-one device with a good extended warranty.
5. Keep office supplies organized and ready for use. I love pens. And pencils. And paper clips. And push pins, too. But, there is a limit to how much of something is simply too much. Never have so many pens, pencils, paper clips, etc. that you are using an entire drawer for them. The last thing you want is to be late to a meeting because you had to spend 5 minutes rambling through your drawers looking for your “lucky pen” or a paper clip.
With these five tips, you will not only improve your productivity, but your desk will be the envy of all of your coworkers or your roommate.
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