Highly Effective Work Habits: Keep a Clean Workspace
Having a clean workspace will help you to stay organized at work. I’ll cover organization in more detail in a future topic. It is much harder to get things done if you have to hunt around your desk for materials. Most people who have cluttered desks tell me they have a “system”. However, if I see them stumbling around, lifting up papers, and overturning folders, then that is obviously not much of a system. Important documents can get lost in this manner. If you are already buried under months of paperwork, the hardest part is getting started. Once you get everything organized, keeping it up is much simpler and just a matter of discipline. The best thing you can do to get started is raid your company’s storage closet for some file folders and desktop organizers. Put everything into logical groupings by project or functional area. In my cube, I have 4 different desktop folder organizers and in my primary one I have a separate folder for each project (and I usually have 4-5 projects going on simultaneously). I also have a desk drawer with hanging file folders for stuff I don’t reference everyday (archive).
Beyond just keeping things organized, you should also keep a sanitary workspace. Most experts will tell you that an office counter-top has more bacteria on it than a toilet seat! I worked with a guy once who was probably one of the most unsanitary people I’ve ever worked with. When he often had a cold, his desk constantly had used tissue paper scattered all over the place. And, his cube was always dirty with stuff just thrown every which way. Every time I interacted with him, I felt like I needed a tetanus shot Personally, I try to clean my desktop with cleaning products every few months and I also keep a bottle of Purell handy. Not only is keeping a clean work area just more healthy in general, it will also help earn you more respect from the people you work with.