Having an organized office means making use of a good functional file drawer. If you have to exert any extra effort to get something filed, chances are it may end up in a pile instead. So what’s the optimal situation for easy access filing? Hands down, the answer is a good 2 drawer lateral file cabinet. The top drawer is the perfect height to use for filing at your desk while sitting. I like to keep the file drawer open while sorting papers, rather than piling papers on the counter, hanging them into files is much more efficient. Are papers piling up at your desk? You might want to evaluate your office layout. If you have easy access to a good file drawer, the chances of papers piling up will certainly be reduced.
The file drawer in the picture above is made by HON and it’s the gold standard in file drawers. The full extension drawer slides are very well made and it will last many years. The down side is that they are metal and look a little “officey”. A good wood alternative like this one from Pottery Barn might be a another option in a home office.
We hear good reviews from our clients all the time. Karen, our office manager says her favorite part of the day is following up with clients and hearing them rave about our organizers and the services they provide. It’s extra special when a client goes out of their way to put it in writing. Thank you Joan K!
“The whole process was amazing. In three hours, my office was orderly and neat. I had the papers I needed to work on first organized and I had a clear idea of what I should do next. Candace has lot of suggestions on making things work the way I did so I could keep the office orderly going forward. She moved my desk and printer table so they were connected, something I would never have thought of and a much better solution for how I work. She was a delight to work with and I even had fun throwing away all the stuff I don’t need. I enthusiastically recommend Candace and Chaos to Order. Next will be the guest room closet!”
Research shows that spending just a few minutes on cleaning and organizing can actually improve your mood. It gives you a sense of accomplishment–at least you’ve started even if you’re just making a small dent. Getting organized will create a feeling of order which can have a calming effect. So if you’ve got to get an organizing project going, just start. Don’t look at the big picture, look at one item at a time and put it in it’s place…baby steps. The sense of having started and working in the right direction may be just what you need to gather momentum and carry on. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Of course not much can be accomplished in 15 minutes, but it’s the starting point that matters most. That 15 minute window will give you the jump start you need, and possibly the motivation to continue. If you can’t continue beyond the 15 minutes, that’s ok, just schedule another block of time. If you don’t carve out the time in your schedule, it’s never going to happen and you’ll spend more time thinking and worrying about it rather than just trudging through it!
Your smartphone can be a helpful gadget in the ongoing battle to get and stay organized. If you have a phone with a camera, take some snapshots as a quick way to help keep you organized when you’re on the go. Here’s a list of some handy photos to snap:
• Printer cartridge refills. Take a quick photo of the printer cartridge box so you always have the serials, numbers and whatever other information with you.
• Office space. If you’re in need of an extra desk or filing cabinet, keep pictures of the space handy so when you’re out and see something you like, you will know if it will work. You can also store your dimensions in my measurements.
• Parking space. If you run out on an appointment, snap a photo of your parking space so you’ll remember where to return to.
• Banking. You can also avoid running out to the bank and make deposits by taking photos of checks with an app like Chase Mobile.
Once you’ve taken the photos, you don’t want to just have them linger uncategorized in your photo stream. It will be more efficient to keep any informational photos of this type in a separate album or upload to the cloud with an app like Evernote.
Are you ready to clear the papers in your office? Is it a time consuming hassle to get your hands on papers you need? Maybe it’s time to digitize and find your papers in a snap with a Fujitsu Scansnap. I’ve always been a fan of scanning papers and keeping them digitally on the computer or in the cloud–it certainly takes up less space. The problem with scanners I’ve purchased in the past is learning their software and getting acclimated to it all, it seemed like more work than it should be–until I tried the Fujitsu Scansnap. I’ve heard people talk about this scanner and read the glowing reviews, so I had to see for myself, after all it’s my job to know what products will best keep our clients organized.
The Fujitsu Scansnap was revolutionary. The document was quickly scanned, and I instantly had the option of putting it exactly where I wanted it: .pdf, .jpeg, even editable in Word and Excel. No need to figure out and open another obscure program, you can scan both documents and receipts, it automatically recognized the size of each document. You can also highlight words within the document so they are searchable on your computer. Works with both PC and Mac–brilliant!
Our organizers are now working with the scanner so that if you need papers in your office scanned and digitized, we can bring it along during your organizing session.
One of the most important parts of having organized paperwork is the willingness to file. Most people have an aversion to filing because they fear they will never see their papers again. At Chaos To Order we have had great success teaching our clients to at least get the ball rolling by creating temporary files. With these temporary files, no decisions are permanent and you can change labels and categories easily. We recommend 1/3 cut reinforced manilla file folders. Take a 3×3 Post-It note and stick it to the label of the file folder. Using temporary files takes away that feeling of “I’m not sure if this is what I should call this” or “I will only need these papers until my meeting next week”. If you create a temporary file, it will at least get the file made. Often we get so caught up in how we are going to label or color code files that we never get to the papers and they stay in the pile! Start today, create some temporary files and you will reap the time-saving and organizational rewards of having your papers filed rather than piled!