Productivity For Dummies
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It’s difficult to work productively if your workspace is cluttered and disorganised. Take some time to get organised and you will be better able to focus and get things done. Follow the steps below to a clutter free well arranged workspace.

  1. Do an office purge.

    The best place to start is with the big clean up. If you have a disorganized office, you may want to take a Saturday morning to tackle it. Dump all the obvious junk, and remove items that just don’t belong in your office. If you have paperwork, put all the paper together in one pile before separating it into three bundles: filing, shredding, and actionable work.

  2. Invest in the tools.

    To get organized after your purge, you need to set yourself up with the tools. A filing cabinet, hanging files, manila folders, a label maker, a step file organiser, and trays for “paper in” and “filing” should get you on the right path. File the documents you need to keep for reference in your filing cabinet and file the actionable documents in folders and place them in a step file organizer on your desk. Label them clearly with the label maker and — voilà! — a clean, organized desk.

  3. Organise electronic files.

    For those of you who don’t work with paper, your workspace is probably your computer desktop. Clear your desktop of all files. File them in folders on the hard drive in a structured way. Plan your folder hierarchy before starting, and try to save all files in the right place. Spend some time clearing up any stray files and make your mother proud.

  4. Clean up your inbox.

    Don’t let your inbox drag you down. Remember email is a form of communication, though not always the best form, and shouldn’t take up more than an hour a day. Don’t use your email as a to-do list. Use folders to file emails you need to keep. Plan the work to be done in your email by putting tasks into a task management system or planning them in your calendar. Delete as many emails as possible.

  5. Do a weekly review.

    To maintain the calm control, do a weekly review to keep things in order. Spend some time planning your work in your calendar, filing your papers, and processing your emails in your inbox. The weekly review is a time for organizing your work, not doing it.

About This Article

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Ciara Conlon is a productivity coach, keynote speaker and author. She helps organisations get better results by establishing space for more creativity and innovation. She helps people get better results by adopting effective habits and focusing on the right stuff at the right time.

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