Bloom Where You’re Planted! 10 Ways “Tidying Up” Brings a Fresh Start to the Workplace

April 28, 2016


These 10 steps will get and keep you on the right track!

1. Look with a fresh eye. What does your workspace say about you? Where are the sources of delays or wasted time? Identify what needs to change.

2. Make a list of thing to be de-cluttered, cleaned and organized. Take a page from Marie Kondo’s book, The Magic Art of Tidying Up, and organize by categories. Start with books/reading material, then go to personal items, then perhaps move to files. Don’t forget your hard drive, and even your resume and social media or company profiles…anything that’s been overlooked for too long.

3. Clean as you go. Put together a kit that includes a can of compressed air, screen wipes, multi-surface cleaner, a lint brush and a microfiber cloth for dusting. Antibacterial wipes for occasional swipes of your desk chair arms, drawer pulls and phone are a good idea.

4. Focus only on what you are doing. No multi-tasking and avoid going on autopilot and just putting things back where they have been.  Consciously decide what you must have and what you use. If you haven’t used something recently, you likely won’t.  Banish those pens that balk or paper clips that are bent to the wastebasket. Give yourself permission to have things around you that lift your mood and make you feel good, but don’t let those things take over or outlive their usefulness either.  Root out the unnecessary, the redundant, and the out of date.

5. Place items and materials in proximity to you based on their frequency of use. In other words, the more often you use it, the closer it should be. The only things in arm’s reach should be things you use frequently. Establish a zone for paperwork, items to read, supplies and personal items-and keep things there.

6. Stop avoiding a hard look at your office computer. More is better. Trash duplicate and outdated files and bookmarks—applications you don’t us also, please! Reorganize files and documents for optimal utility. If you are someone who keeps emails as a stand in for a to do list, stop.

7. Institute a BOGO (buy one, get one) policy. In order to keep a book or magazine, you must divest yourself of one; same thing with files and project-related documents. You don’t need to keep every version of the annual report you put together three years ago.

8. De-clutter your activities and projects, too. Divide your activities into three categories:
* Those that are very important and that need the most focus and energy
* Those that are central but not urgent and that can easily be put on hold
* Those that are truly unimportant and unnecessary—things that would go unnoticed if you stopped doing them.

Next, consider what can you delegate or outsource—lunch orders? Meeting arrangements?
You’ll feel refocused, reenergized, and refreshed, knowing that you can now pursue the most important tasks with much more attention and energy.

9.  Get better at letting go. Of course, a spring-cleaning can be hard. You might have trouble letting go of pet projects. And you might find it hard not to complete activities you’ve already started. Ask yourself, “of those things on my to do list, what would I not start again?”

10. Go even further and work with your boss. Share ideas that have worked for you. Together ask, “What should or could we stop doing?” Make sure that you are on the same page with regard to the strategic priority of goals, tasks, and projects, and then eliminate less-important activities.

You know what they say about eating an elephant—do it one bite at a time. There. Now don’t you feel better already?

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