We often find ourselves, and others too, faced with the dilemma of cleaning the office table and keeping it files-free. A time comes when it becomes difficult to clean up the mess and the piles reaches the height of K-2. Although some suggest that a heavily loaded office table gives a “positive impression” to the senior management of “consulting and researching”, but more often than not you send a message of lethargy and incompetence to others.
What to do then? How to clear the mess? I have often tried to follow the following simple tips and found these to be working, provided if these are followed every day or at least 2-3 times a week. You delay doing these, and you end up in a quagmire of useless files and old closed cases still hanging around. And when it comes to finding the current cases, you get lost in the litter of the century.
So make a resolve today to keep your office table clear of everything but the essential by adopting the following tips.
- Ensure your office table has nothing but a computer, a pen holder and a telephone. No foot rulers, paper clip dispensers and adhesive yellow memo papers. All such things like adhesive tapes, memo papers, paper clips, punching machines and stapler to go into your first drawer for easy access.
- When a project finishes, immediately remove all connecting files to the record keeping cabinet, while ensuring to keep the final paper at the top.
- Never put “useful” papers and files in your drawers – as these are never consulted and keep piling up. Place all such things in a folder and keep these in the cabinet or the down most drawer of the desk. And do not forget to throw away the file after six months as all “useful” things by then must have lost their usefulness.
- Do not keep visiting cards under the glass of your table top. You seldom refer to these as essential contacts are already stored in your cell phone. Keep a visiting card holder for storage of all business cards, which you receive in loads everyday a visitor comes to you.
- Have a scanner around you. This will allow you to scan something useful and stored into your computer rather than piled up near you or on your office table. This will rid you from tons of papers you think are going to be consulted very often.
- Do not keep any other while except those related to your current folder. This is the best time to open a new folder with sub-folder facility to store related documents connected to your current project. You will find yourself organized when the project finishes and it would be easier to off-load one master folder to the records keeping cabinet. This will relieve you of sifting files and papers of importance from non-essential every time you finish up a project.
- Have files folder placed on the side table to store incoming files. Do not keep a “Pending Files” folder, as this will compel you to delay things and the pending tray would keep piling up. If a file comes in, it must go out the same day, or else it will never go away.
- If you are sharing your table with someone else, ensure you have separate trays, lest you keep finding your files from his files dump.
- Colour code your files for easy sifting, storage and retrieval.
- And last of all; keep your personal files away from your desk top. These must be either in your briefcase or in a specially folder, marked as such, and kept in a drawer. Remember, drawers are for personal things and not for official documents or files, as these may get lost when carrying out a cleansing.
I am sure by getting organized this way would improve your efficiency, and avoid getting perspirations when a file gets lost in a pile of files when it is needed the most. Likewise, you should store files in your computer is folders rather than on the desktop, which I often find cluttered with files that are difficult to access. The catch word is “be organized for tomorrow” rather than “get lost tomorrow.”