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Spring-cleaning isn’t just for the household! As we head into May, the urge to clean and organize becomes a necessity for many. And while it can be hard to get excited about tidying up sometimes, especially on the job, it may help to know that organization in the workplace is a surefire way to increase your productivity.
For this month’s reading roundup, we’ll focus on organizational tips and how-to’s, along with some advice on how to increase your productivity at work.
Organization at your desk or work area doesn’t just look nice. It may actually be a small, but definite way to increase your productivity during the day. Renae Nicole, writing for the Houston Chronicle, touches on four ways your life can improve if your workplace is tidy. According to Nicole, morale, professionalism, health and efficiency can all increase when you pay attention to how well you organize your workspace.
“An organized workplace encourages workers to be productive, reduces work-related stress and saves time -- especially because employees spend less time looking for things,” she writes. “When you establish an efficient workplace, you establish structure. By doing so, workers are able to accomplish more and generate more business.”
While you may want to be organized, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, especially if your desk is overdue for some maintenance. Sherrie Bourg Carter, a contributor to Psychology Today, relays the wisdom ofDiane Albright, a certified professional organizer, who provides eight organizational tips for beginners or those who may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.
The trick, according to Albright, is to start easy, by throwing out or recycling anything that doesn’t work or you no longer need. Other good ideas include creating bins to corral items for upcoming meetings, and, as she puts it, to “label, label, label.”
“Labeling not only helps you stay better organized, it also helps others function more independently in your workplace,” she says.
May’s warmer temperatures can be a drag for work productivity. Who wants to stay inside at a desk all day while the sun is shining? If you suffer from “summer-blues” then Amit Chowdry, a technology writer for Forbes, has the answer for you. He walks readers through many ideas that my sound like common sense, but very few people apply consistently.
Here’s what he has to say about the utility of the humble to-do list: “In your life, there are tasks that are simple and ones that are complex. My preference is to go after the easy ones first and then tackle the complicated ones after. To stay on top of tasks, I create to-do lists and track them using Google Tasks. Since Google Tasks sync with Gmail, Google Calendar, and the Google mobile app, it makes it easier to refer to them while on-the-go.”
And, as you might imagine, he does not list social media among his tools for getting more done.
“If you find that you are really falling behind on your work, then you should consider uninstalling the Facebook and Twitter app from your smartphone,” he writes. “Some of my friends that have a major exam coming up deactivated their account on Facebook as a reminder that social networking is not their biggest priority right now.”
After reading about what to do to increase productivity, it only makes sense to follow up with what not to do if you want to be productive. Jacquelyn Smith, also writing for Forbes, reports that the biggest distraction at work is noisy co-workers. A new survey by Ask.com, an online question answering service, found that a majority of U.S. employees (61 percent) agree that loud colleagues are the biggest office distraction.
Those chatty coworkers aren’t the only culprits, however. The survey also highlights factors such as telecommuting (too many tempting snack options?), group projects, impromptu face-to-face meetings, the dreadfulness that is office cubicle design, and sitting next to the boss, as other things that can impede work getting done.
While it’s not always possible to change some of these factors in your workplace, it is helpful to realize the impact of differing elements of the work environment on distraction and take action to counteract them.
~ Katie Woo, communications assistant, ASU Alumni Association