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Starting the New Year with a Clean Desk

It may sound straightforward, but did you know that cleaning your desk has more benefits than simply eliminating clutter?

A clean and organized workspace can reduce stress and improve productivity and efficiency. Lean organizations with a continuous improvement commitment oftentimes implement 5s in the office, as well as in the shop.  The 5 steps involve Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. This methodology reduces clutter by sorting out unneeded items; increases productivity by carefully organizing the remaining items; maintains cleanliness by regular cleaning; standardizes procedures; and sustains improvements through continuous employee engagement. 

Additionally, for many of us, our workspace is not just where we work, it’s also where we eat our lunches, or at least snack during the day. Taking the time to organize and deep clean your workspace early in the New Year is one more step you can take to set yourself up for success for the days, weeks, and months ahead.

However, while a “clean” slate can benefit everyone, a “clear” slate doesn’t work for everyone. No matter how you function most productively, here are some tips on how to make your workspace work for you.

Non-Visual Thinkers: Everything Has Its Place

· Organization: Using organizers that have specific compartments and places to help you locate items without having to search visually through a pile of miscellaneous items.

· Labels: Labeling drawers, files, and containers with easily readable text helps you know where needed items are located.

· Digital Tools: Using digital tools (like your calendar’s Task Manager) can help you keep track of deadlines, appointments and tasks.

· Auditory Cues: Setting audible reminders or alarms can help make sure you don’t get caught up in what you’re working on (and can make staying on top of scheduled breaks).

· Keep It Simple: Simplify and streamline your workspace to avoid overwhelming visual stimuli and limit the likelihood of losing track of important items.

Visual Thinkers: Keep Things in Sight to Keep Them in Mind

· Trays and Organizers: Using organizers with clear compartments allows you to visually see what’s inside.

· Color Coding: Using color coded folders for high priority items helps categorize different tasks and projects.

· Digital Organization: You can flag emails with correlating colors to match the physical folders on your desk, leading to seamless visual organization.

· Daily Clean-Up Routine: By setting aside a few minutes at the end of every day to tidy up and organize your workspace, you are committing to a new daily routine of housekeeping.

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