With the holidays nearing a close, the invading thought for many minds is how to come into a New Year with a clean slate. Although we can’t whisk all of our work away, here are some office organization tips to help preparing for the New Year go a little easier.
Clear and organize your inbox
It feels so good to have a clean inbox. Don’t go back to your office with a pile of unread emails and e-clutter. Just looking at a cluttered inbox can dampen your spirits. How do you start? Make attempts to revitalize your inbox and start fresh. Even the smallest attempts can uplift you and make you feel like you are making some progress. Try these tips to help you declutter your inbox:
- Ensure that all of your emails are read. Emails can sit in your mailbox for a few reasons. One of the main reasons are that you still need to action the email or ensure that it is actioned by someone else. If this is you, take some time to go through these emails, delete, action or delegate them. Some email functions include assigning tasks to others, while giving your reminders and updates when it is completed. Take advantage of these tools and reduce how many emails you have in your inbox for you to action.
- Take some time to think about how your email works for you. Is how your email is setup working for you? Do you have folders in place in order to store important emails according to their topic? Do you archive or delete emails timely to ensure you have a clean inbox? Is what you are storing in your email in compliance with GDPR (gasp!)? Giving thought to these areas and aligning them with appropriate actions will help you start your new year on the right foot. You might find that with adding a few folders, or using categorization will be your new best friend.
- Consider the rules. Consider using the rules function of your email to set up direction for incoming emails. For example, do you always have industry magazines come into your inbox, that you can’t open right away? Those magazines and newsletters can pile up over time. Set up a rule to move them to a specific folder when they are delivered to your inbox. This way you can go through them at the appropriate time set aside for catching up on industry news.
Clean your desk or office
For those that always ensure their desks are clean and cleared at the end of each day, this bullet point isn’t for you. However, if you find yourself having few items to put away, now is a good time to find them a home. I always still manage to find piles of sticky notes as reminders on my desk (I know, it’s my weakness). If this is you, take action on the note, or catalog it for digital long-term storage like OneNote or Evernote.
Reducing and eliminating desk files are also another area to target as you work towards a fresh start. It is amazing how easily a couple years of documentation can pile up. Take some time to go through your past files. Shred or throw away files that are more than a year old. For more important files that need to be kept, scan and store them digitally, to condense your physical paper trail. As a disclaimer, as always if you work for an organization, ensure that all steps that you take are in compliance to your work policy for storing files.
Consider layout and placement
We never consider the layout and placement of the furniture and soft items in our work spaces. Usually we just set up shop in an office or a space that was given to us with furniture in place, and we don’t think to change it. Or perhaps you setup your home office, not really knowing how it should work for you. As we go into the New Year, take some time to evaluate if your furniture needs to be removed, replaced, or restored. Additionally, if you can change the layout to allow your workspace to be more inviting for you. For example, place your desk near a window for natural lighting or add a plant or foliage for some liveliness.
Create list of important to-do’s
There is nothing an event professional likes more than to-do lists right? Well, creating a list for the items that you need to focus on in the New Year is also a good way to keep yourself on top of your game. Think about the items that are most important create a list of those items. I wrote a blog post on putting first things first, that you might want to check out. Basically, make your lists that allows you to focus on the most important items on your plate. This will allow you to always complete the things that matter to you every day.
Optimize your work habits
Finally, take some time to really think about how you work. Perhaps you would like to insert some time into your calendar for exercise, or maybe you want to reserve the first hour of your day for yourself. Find ways to enhance your work day with the things that matter and that will hopefully bring you productivity and happiness for the New Year. Some tips that work, is update your available times in your email calendar function. This way when meetings are scheduled, it will show the hours in which you are available for meetings.
Putting these suggestions into action will put you on the right track for the new year. Although the work never stops coming through, having a better plan on how you tackle that work, will help you. I would love to hear about your tips on getting ready for a new year. If you have any, feel free by keeping the conversation going in the comments below. Cheers to a New Year!