Clean Your Office and Get Back Six Weeks of Time!

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The Wall Street Journal reported that people lose as much as six weeks a year just searching for information. Can you afford that kind of time loss? No one can. Yes, you can work in chaos—but you are going to lose time and focus. You will work more efficiently when your workspace is clutter free. Start by committing yourself to a clean desktop. You cannot think about big ideas if your desktop is full of action items. Here's how to make your office clutter free right now.

1. Move (or move out) Keepsakes. Keepsakes can be just as distracting as stacks of work—and they need to be dusted! Move half of your keepsakes out of your office. Cindy Arlinsky, founder of Organizing Matters suggests moving the remainder of your keepsakes off your desk and onto walls or shelves.

2. Move the Tools. So what else do you keep on your desk—an electronic pencil sharpener, paper clips, and a stapler? Gayle Goddard, The Clutter Fairy, says, "If you have a bunch of office tools on the desk that you use less than once a day, get them off the desk. Put them in a file cabinet or on a bookcase or in a closet." Keep only your most essential office tools on your desk.

3. Create Color-Coded Action Files. Give each one of your work projects a color-coded action file. Use your desk drawer for these action files. "That one drawer is prime real estate that can be reached while you are sitting in the desk chair. That drawer should be used for your current action files," says Gayle Goddard. "That way whatever you are working on currently is immediately accessible while you work, and can be easily put away
at the end of each day to clear off your desk."

4. Create Project Shelves for writing and work projects that need more space than a file or two. Each book I am writing gets a shelf. That way, I can keep a project notebook, research materials, and research books visible and in one place. I've now added shelves for clients and other work projects. It keeps the information off my desk (and floor) but still in sight.

5. Hello Notepad. Is your computer hard to see because you've covered it with real and electronic sticky notes reminding you to call the doctor? STOP! Organizer Cindy Arlinsky says, "Jot down phone numbers, order confirmations, travel data, and other urgent information in ONE spot. You'll save time retrieving information and minimize clutter."

6. The Magic Twenty. Set aside 20 minutes at the end of each day to clean up your office. Deal with the emails in your inbox. Put away project files and tools. Toss extra papers. Return dirty dishes to the kitchen. Then shut down the computer, turn off the lights, and close the door.

A clean, well-organized office will make you more productive. Besides that, you'll have reclaimed the time you used to spend searching for information. With that extra time, you'll be able to take on more work or even take a vacation!

About the Author:

Right Now! Coach Rochelle Melander supports people in writing to transform their lives and businesses. If you're ready to establish credibility, make more money, and market your work by writing a book, blog, or Web site, get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at
Copyright (c) 2009 Rochelle Melander

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