Practical tips to keep your workspace organised

Scientists at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute have found that physical clutter limits your ability to focus and process information. 

The research shows having an organised workspace will save you time, help you to be less irritable, increase your concentration and allow you to get more done.

Cluttered and messy workspace

In short, the state of your workspace affects how you work. A clean and well-organised work space can help increase your productivity. 

Australasian Association of Professional Organisers (AAPO) shares a few simple steps to organising your workspace.

Understand the purpose of the area

What kind of work do you do at your desk? How do you want it to function and feel?

Having a vision of what you would like to achieve will give your workspace purpose and help create a better workflow.

Clear your desk; clear your mind

AAPO recommends clearing and cleaning your workspace to help clear your mind. 

You can start by removing all items that are not relevant. Then clean dust and dirt by wiping down all surfaces and equipment. 

This will help create a blank canvas for your super-organised space.

Sort and purge using the ‘essentials-only rule’. 

AAPO recommends treating your desk like prime real estate and storing the items you don’t use into folders, file and drawers. 

Keep your everyday items – laptop, project folders, stationery and notebooks – but put away or get rid of everything you don’t need or want.

Assign a ‘home’ for all documents and equipment

Have a place for everything and make sure everything is in its place. The AAPO suggests grouping similar items together in the same drawer and have a separate drawer for personal items. 

Get drawer organisers to store little items such as paper clips, pins and tacks.

Organised small business workspace

Once you’ve streamlined your workspace, you can use desk organisers to keep it neat. 

Keep your stationery tidy with a pencil caddy. Create a mail station to keep track of incoming and outgoing work. Place your documents in a paper tray and file them once a week. 

AAPO recommends having designated storage for your items, so you can maintain a disciplined approach to keeping your desk clutter-free.

Setting up a filing system for paperwork using lever arch, ring binders or suspension files can also help keep things well organised. 

AAPO recommends taking time to label files and storage containers to make sorting and searching quick and easy. 

Not only will it remind you where things go, it will also help colleagues who might need to search for, use, or store items in your workspace.

De-clutter daily

Your desk could get messy over time, so be sure to keep it in tip-top shape. 

AAPO advises taking five to ten minutes before you leave work each day to straighten things up. You’ll arrive every morning to a clean desk, ready to start the day ahead.