Does your workspace reflect your level of professionalism? Do you have a workspace that’s conducive to productivity? Can you – or more importantly, your colleagues – even find your inbox?
If you answered no to any or all of these questions, then your desk likely needs a makeover.
Organizing your desk can be a process, especially if it currently looks like a tornado blew across it. However, getting this space in order is crucial for any admin who wants to be taken seriously and maximize his or her productivity. A messy, unorganized desk not only makes it difficult for you to find things; it also reflects poorly on your level of professionalism and credibility as an admin.
Don’t let your workspace give people the wrong impression or undermine your work. These tips will help you get organized, improve your productivity, and make you a more effective admin.
1. Clear the clutter. One of the biggest visual upgrades you can make in your workspace is to clear nonessential things that have accumulated over time. Clear absolutely everything off of your desk. Put it in a box. Determine which items are essential to your daily work, and place them back on your desk. Or better yet, find a nearby desk drawer they can live in. Leave the other items in the box for at least a month. If you haven’t missed them or needed them in that time, you probably can find them a better home. Clearing the clutter creates a refreshed environment that will help you work more efficiently and think more clearly.
2. Work from left to right (or right to left). Establish which direction work will flow across your desk. If you prefer to work from left to right, start with your to-do stack on the left side of your workspace. As you complete a task or put tasks in the pending stack while you wait for feedback or follow up, move them to the right side. This will help you keep track of your progress and what still needs to be done at the end of each day. You might have to reorganize your desk to make this work, but it’s worth the effort to have a consistent workflow for projects.
3. Showcase your inbox. You don’t need to put a spotlight on it, but your inbox should be very obvious and easy to find. Make sure it’s in a highly visible spot on your desk to ensure your executive and colleagues can locate it. Then make sure you empty it every day. If your co-workers don’t think you are handling the items in your inbox, they’ll start placing them in other spots on your desk or chair, which creates more clutter and the potential for important papers to get overlooked.
4. Color-code everything. Assign a different color to each executive and project, and use the color for corresponding file folders, labels, and even color-coding on your electronic calendar. Color-coding your responsibilities will help you find things quickly and keep everything visually consistent.
5. Find a “hiding place” for your keyboard. If you don’t have a keyboard tray, put your laptop or monitor on a riser or stand. Doing this will give you a place to put your keyboard when you’re not typing/using your computer.
Organizing your desk can be a big chore. But a workspace makeover will go a long way in boosting your productivity at work. And it will do wonders for how you’re perceived as a professional.
© 2019 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.