Lesson 7 – Time Management

Organising Your Workspace

Getting rid of clutter is one of the best things we can do to make a more efficient work environment. Look at your desk. The object is to purge both the work surface and the contents of the desk. If the surface is already clear—great! However, if there are items on the desk, ask yourself if they are necessary and/or in an effective location.

  • Check position of the desk: Is it facing the door and making interruptions more likely?
  • Is the lighting adequate?
  • Is the phone where it can be reached easily?
  • Is there a better arrangement possible?
  • Is the seating/chair adequate?

Your first step should be to get rid of things that should NOT be on the desk. Check everywhere. Look under the blotter, on the walls surrounding the desk, in trays, etc. Collect all bits and pieces and de-clutter by throwing out or noting information in an appropriate spot and discarding it, or filing it for the moment.

Then move to the contents of the desk. Focus first on the tools you use, such as pens, pencils, and erasers. Check to make sure of the following:

  • You have all tools you need, and they are in good working order.
  • Tools are organised so like tools are together and easily accessible. Useless tools should be discarded or moved to an area to be fixed.
  • Group like items together (for example, stationery, envelopes, and stamps all in one drawer).
  • Store any oversupply is in a supply area.
  • Tools are stored in a shallow desk drawer and are not on the desk.

Pass out garbage bags and suggest participants take them back to their workspace to get rid of their clutter. Ask them to make four piles of all the papers they have strewn around, including those on the bulletin board, under your ink blotter or desk calendar, and on chairs.

  • Take home/get out of office
  • Help yourself/giveaways to colleagues
  • Cool stuff you want to keep and display
  • Things to be filed or written into your planner

Set up a system where vital information is saved where it can be readily found, and then bits of paper can be discarded. Clutter often prevents us from using our time efficiently.

Guidelines for Keeping a Piece of Paper

Am I going to need to refer to this later?

YES: File it
NO: Recycle it

Do I have a digital copy that will suffice?

YES: Recycle it
NO: File it

Is it directly related to me or will someone else have a copy that I can refer to?

YES: Recycle it
NO: File it

Do I need to keep this for legal reasons?

YES: File it
NO: Recycle it

Does it fit in my filing system?

YES: File it
NO: Recycle it

If I file it, will I be able to find it?

YES: File it
NO: Recycle it