Keeping a Clean and Healthy Work Environment
Sort Your Papers
Good grief! I thought computers were supposed to reduce the amount of paper we use and create a clutter-free work environment! My waste cans are over-flowing. There’s enough paper in piles on my desk to reach around the world. How can I dig out of this chaos?
Often when you decide you’ve just gotta do something about the mess, you wind up moving papers from one pile to the other. It may look a little neater after you’re done, but the problem is not solved.
The solution is ORGANIZATION! To get started, grab another piece of paper …. and write down five broad categories of subjects you usually address in your office. Try to limit the list to five topics. Perhaps you will start with “Personal,” then “Finances,” then “Medical,” etc. Begin sorting through your papers and placing similar subjects in one pile, following your list.. Buy a box of manila folders, label according to subject, then place the papers in the appropriate file, according to your categories.
Delete The Junk
It may take some time to go through those precious papers but, as you do, it will be easier for you to see how much is duplication, unnecessary, out-of-date, and just plain trash. Throw out the stuff you no longer need. If there’s personal information, financial or other, on some of those sheets you are discarding, be sure to shed them! If you don’t have a shredder, buy one.
You may have five or six piles of papers now. Some of these you will want to access frequently, some not as much. Decide which are your priorities and put the categories that you use most often closer to you. Use file caddies to keep the files upright on your desk rather than laying the folders flat. It’s easier to see the file labels when they are upright.
File Your Documents
There are many options available for storing your important data. Browse through an office supply store; visualize the various filing systems as if you had them in your office. If you opt for file cabinets, consider using color coded folders. Coding helps reduce the chance that papers will be filed in the wrong place (i.e. – green: financial records; blue: medical records, etc.). Storage systems come in many sizes, shapes and composition. Old standbys are the metal filing cabinets with Manila folders but the cabinets now come in modern colors and finishes with smooth glide drawers. There are also attractive plastic stacking boxes, a variety of desk and drawer organizers, and the old standby, corrugated bank storage boxes.