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10 Steps to Clean Up Your Office in 10 Minutes

10 Steps to Clean Up Your Office in 10 Minutes

Do you have the guts to part ways with all those broken gadgets, notepads and pens? This 10 step office cleanup guide should have you neat and tidy in no time. Try to spend just one minute on each task, and move quickly.

10. Paper

Why it’s messy: Paper is the biggest desk culprit. Chances are you have piles of notes, receipts and cartoons strewn about, and it’s keeping you from getting to other office organization tasks.

How to fix it: Take 1 minute to organize receipts and documents into separate piles. Sift through for “to do” lists so you can compile them later. Throw away anything you already have on your computer. If you’re afraid of wasting printer ink by printing it again, save it.

9. Pens

Why they’re the culprit: You probably have 19 pens on your desk, only 3 work, and there’s only one you’ll happily write with.

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How to fix it: Do you even need to bother checking all of the pens to see which ones work and which are duds? Start by tossing anything from a hotel, doctor’s office or golf course.  Keep pens with sentimental value, of course, especially if you can refill the ink. Toss the rest. If you don’t own a pencil sharpener, donate them to a student.

8. Paper Clips

Let’s get real. When is the last time you used one? Chances are, unless you’re making jewelry, or roping off a room, you don’t need the 400 pack sitting on your desk.

How to fix it: This one’s rather simple. Grab as much as you can in one handful, give the rest to a friend or office mate. Paperclips are an office product lots of people tend to buy in bulk because they’re cheap, but they’re messy. If you ever find yourself without a paper clip, ask a friend!

7. Dust

How’d it get there? If you’ve had your desk covered in unnecessary paperwork, chances are you haven’t been able to give it a proper wipe-down.

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How to Fix it: If you’re immobile, we suppose you could use the condensation from your cup of iced coffee and a napkin, but in case you can get up, give your desk a nice wipe with a damp paper towel.  After a few swipes you’ll be squeaky clean!

6. Clothes

If your office had a shower, you’d never leave, right? That doesn’t mean your office mates should have to hang out with your gym clothes in perpetuity.

How to Fix It: Your clothes – a sweater, a scarf, socks – probably accumulated over a few months, toted around in your purse or a shopping bag. Before you throw your take-out away, save the bag, stow your clothes and remember to take them home with you. Either that or drop them off at a laundromat.

5. Cards, Toys, Office Swag

It feels nice to get a card or thoughtful gift from a friend at work. Even if you didn’t get the present from a colleague, these things make your desk feel like home, understood. Don’t become one of those people with the desks that look like a museum.

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How to Fix It: Parse through the desk toys and get rid of anything that you got for free or at a seminar. It detracts from any accolade related desktop items. If you have an award or certificate of achievement, make sure it’s not overshadowed by your convention pens and stuffed toys.

4. Hardware

Your printer and computer are the backbone of your office. Don’t let them get dusty and greasy. A quick clean is cheaper than buying new hardware.

How to Fix it: Wipe down your screen. Get a hold of canned air if you can, and blow the dust out of your keyboard and CPU.

3. Disinfect

The last cold you got probably wasn’t from germs in the bathroom. Many studies suggest that the desktop in an office is dirtier than the restroom. If you keep anything at your desk, disinfectant isn’t a bad choice.

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How to Fix it: Just like dusting, spray, swipe, repeat. Making sure your desktop is free and clear of dust and clutter will make it easier to spray often.

2.  Streamline office Supplies

An all-in-one stapler, tape dispenser may not be your tool of choice, but maybe you don’t even need both. Office supply overload is unnecessary with so many documents living in the “cloud.”

How to Fix It: For every highlighter, stapler, staple remover and clip, choose a few to keep. You don’t need every color of pen, or 4 notebooks.

1. Food

If you aren’t at your desk, it should look that way. Food is the biggest culprit in desk grime, smell and overall uncleanliness. Plus, it probably grosses out your office mates

How to Fix It: Throw away anything you haven’t taken a bite from in the last 5 minutes. Any plates, bowls or silverware that haven’t been cleaned since your last meal should be taken to the kitchen. Once you’re there, you can have a celebratory cup of coffee, after you wash your mug.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More About Boosting Productivity

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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