It’s way too easy to let things pile up on your desk, especially during winter when it’s hard to get away for walks or other forms of exercise. So the arrival of Spring is a great time to refresh and re-energize by spring cleaning your office to enhance your efficiency, augment your productivity, and make your work space a happier, healthier place to get down to business. Here are some ideas to help your office spring cleaning be the most effective.
1. Commit to your spring cleaning window.
Spring cleaning your office isn’t going to happen spontaneously between meetings or projects. Make a commitment to the spring cleaning process by blocking out a time to organize your work space on your work calendar. Whether it’s skipping lunch on a Friday afternoon to start the spring cleaning process or popping into the office on a Sunday afternoon, it’s important to make time for the process of refreshing and reorienting your work space.
2. Block out distractions.
For those of us that work in a home office, blocking out distractions is a difficult enterprise. At home, we can get distracted by the television, the refrigerator, the laundry or simply the view out the front windows. At a traditional office, interruptions are just as constant between meetings, emails, and water cooler talk. Throw anything that needs to be filed, discarded or otherwise dealt with into a designated box, and don’t address their fate until you’ve finished cleaning your office.
3. Go minimalist.
One of the main reasons to spring clean your office in the first place is because your workspace has become cluttered. Wasted actions lead to creeping inefficiency, so the only things within reach in your workspace should be the essentials—old files, stacks of paper, sticky notes, and other non-essentials should find new homes. For most people, the essentials for work can be pared down to a monitor and keyboard, two good pens, a notebook, and one personal item, whether it’s a family heirloom or a geeky toy. Supplies, paperwork, old coffee cups, and personal items should be banished to a more appropriate station.
4. Clean up your virtual work space.
Spring is a great time to remember that efficiency in terms of access also applies to your virtual work space as well. We often forget that technology is here to make our lives easier—we don’t exist to serve it. That means archiving old emails, deleting outdated storage folders, and organizing your email in a way that makes it quick and easy for you to take action on it, whether it’s replying, filing, or discarding it. The same notion applies to your computer desktop, which can become overloaded with applications, shortcuts, wallpaper, and other items. You’ll find that streamlining your desktop to include only the most essential files and functions will help minimize distractions and improve efficiency.
5. Pat yourself on the back.
Once you’ve succeeded in minimizing the tools you’re able to access in your work space and desktop, you should give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself. Whether you ditch the home office to catch a movie, schedule a massage, or pick up some fresh flowers for your desk, take the time to appreciate the favor you’ve just done for your future self.