So the new year is upon us and I am pretty sure a lot of you are writing up your list of resolutions for 2014. Change, however, starts with the little things, as well as the things closer to home: in particular, your work space. Whether you work from home or are in an office space, you need to keep things organized and always available. It looks professional and if you are organized in your personal area, it’ll be a lot easier to access and might even help you in other parts of your life.
Granted, there are people who are crap at filing and keeping things in places where they can be easily found so here’s a list of good, sound advice to help you out.
1. Small Goals Go A Long Way
Propose small goals first. You can say you are going to try and be a better communicator, leave work on time or keep a clean desk but these resolutions peter out before you can get the steam going. Try going in parts.
Why not try to organize your desk at a set time, like half an hour before your shift is over. Or right before lunch? That way, you will force yourself to get it done before leaving. Set an alarm to remind you. If you find that you’ve made a lot more of a mess than normal, break it up into parts. Top of the desk right before quitting time, the desk drawers before lunch and the file cabinet for the next day.
2. Use The Buddy System
Get an accountability cohort. Find someone you get along with and trust at work. Have them pop in at the previously appointed time to check in on you to see if you are carrying out your resolution. And you can do the same with their resolutions as well.
Get creative. Send them texts. Phone them. Send a friendly (or not so friendly) email. Stay with them till they finish. Or help. Nothing makes time pass more than a pleasant conversation between friends.
3. Don’t Be A Hoarder
Do I need this? Now be really honest with yourself: do you really need that ticket stub to the movie you saw three years ago? Seriously. Is this an important document for work? If it is, file it away. If not, shred it. If you can’t part with it but need the info on the sheet, scan it and put it on an external hard drive.
What tends to happen with trash is that we stash it away somewhere, thinking “I’ll get to that,” and never do. When you look at it again, I’m pretty sure you’ll be thinking, “Why did I ever save this?” Throw out everything that isn’t absolutely needed for work. If you can’t throw it out, take it home.
4. Write It Down!
Write down your resolution. Over and over. A lot of people voice their resolutions but do you ever write them down? Writing it down, although it may sound odd, is a good way of seeing the plan of action you want to take. So, if you want to keep your space clean, write that down along with ways that you might achieve that goal. Change up the resolution with different ways of how you would resolve the issue.
5. Everything In Its Right Place
If it’s out, either file it or shred it. Say you’ve pulled out a document that you needed for some figures in a write-up. Once you’ve gotten all the info you needed, either return it or shred it. Don’t leave anything out on your desk. Keep only the things you are working on out. When you’ve finished using them, put them back. Think of it as your play mat and your toy box. Leaving a document out too long is like walking across the play mat and stepping on a Lego brick. It’s annoying and it’ll remind you why you wanted to tidy up in the first place.
All in all, you have to make your goals do-able. Don’t get lofty and imagine that you’ll be able to do everything at the snap of your fingers. Think realistically what you are capable of doing and go from there. Time yourself. If you catch yourself getting caught up in things and forgetting, let your accountability cohort know and work out a plan.
There are a ton of things you can do to make your New Years resolution easier for yourself. It’s just a question of how.