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Spring cleaning – organize your desk and computer files like a boss

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Sorry, your mom doesn’t work here. So, here’s our obligatory spring cleaning blog. And don't worry if you're a secret sloppy coworker. We have our suspicions, that's why we're sharing these tips with everyone.

Computer upkeep

In a recent Forbes blog, experts say most of us treat our email inbox like a to-do list, which makes us stressed out. Chillax! By organizing your inbox with folders or task functions you might lessen your stress. For example, rather than flagging an email unsystematically, use Outlook commands to set a reminder to follow up.

With a freshly organized inbox, make appointments with yourself at least once a quarter to clean out those folders. And now that your inbox is sparkling, how about digging into your other folders – especially those on our shared drives. Remember, that space costs the company time and money to maintain. Let’s do our part so it’s not unruly. Delete, delete, delete!

Want to give your computer a fresh new spring look after you've cleaned and deleted? Check out our nifty new branded computer desktop wallpapers. You deserve to reward all your hard work with a new view. 

Your desk area

According to a new survey by staffing firm Adecco, 57% of workers admit to judging a coworker based on the cleanliness of their work space. Don’t fall prey to judgy-Mcjudgy two cubes over. Get your work space looking like something worthy of a magazine cover. Here’s how:

  1. First, determine how you need to efficiently use your space based on your daily tasks
  2. Next, set up zones for those daily functions:
    • Work space for your computer
    • Library area for your research
    • Storage area for supplies
    • Filing area for your archives

The things you use consistently should be within the radius of your arms. This can include your monitor and keyboard, telephone, two pens, one notebook, a lamp and a cherished or inspirational framed photo. Supplies and paperwork should be kept in the zones you've established for them. Trash the rest. Seriously. It’ll feel liberating because if it was truly that important, you’d be using it on a regular basis or finding time to read that stack of magazines. Be rid of the clutter!

Buried alive in paper

Working in the insurance industry, don’t you want to laugh when you hear we’re a paperless society. Ha!

Streamline your paperwork process with hanging files or baskets labeled To Read, To Do, To File. Establish set days for each, so that you don't get behind or feel the overwhelming need to do everything at once. For ongoing projects, keep these files color-coded and set them apart from your archives. This way you'll know where everything is and what requires your attention first.

When the cabinet becomes loaded, it's time to de-file, tossing some of the paperwork you no longer need. The long-term upkeep will be just as important as your original organization plan. (Set a reminder in Outlook now that you know how from reading the first part of this blog.)

Disinfect regularly

This is seriously important yet we don’t seem to do it enough at the office. You talk about doing this all the time. Just do it. Clear a whole afternoon, pound some caffeine and go nuts.

Clean your desk. And the keyboard. And your phone. And anything else your grubby little mitts touch. Germs are everywhere. We suggest wiping these items down once a week. The habit will also force you to tidy up loose papers and lingering trash.

If you need cleaning supplies at work, ask your manager to order some. Or if you have an onsite facilities rep, ask if they have supplies you can use.

Still not motivated? The website Funny or Die provides great cleaning tips that we updated for the office:

  1. Turn your back to the dust. Tell the dust in a loud voice to leave your work area, that it is not wanted there. The dust will leave. If it does not leave, you need to work on your leadership skills.
  2. Get a Roomba. Get a cat. Record a video of your cat being scared by the Roomba. Post it on YouTube, make a million dollars and quit your job so you don’t have to clean your desk.

Topics: Facilities, Office Housekeeping