Are you tired of trying to work in a cluttered and messy home office? Are you frustrated with your lack of productivity? A few months ago I was there, too, friend. While I dug out from beneath the piles and worked on establishing better habits, I discovered 3 ways to instantly be more organized. And I’m sharing these gems with you, so that you can instantly be more organized and with less overwhelm!
3 Ways to Instantly Be More Organized
This post was born out of my frustration with my messy office. One day I sat down to work and knocked a pile of papers off my desk to the floor. While trying to clean it up, I tripped over another pile, then tripped over a bag on the floor. I stopped to take a breath and truly looked around my home office. All I saw were piles upon piles and clutter everywhere! I had to do something…. The recommendations in today’s post were born out of that frustration and realization. These are the actual steps I took to ease my frustration, become more productive, and get back to enjoying my office time! Let’s talk about 3 ways to instantly be more organized!
#1 Pick Up After Yourself
It sounds like something you learned in kindergarten, I know. But when I finally reached my breaking point and really looked at the tangled mess around me, I realized that I wasn’t picking up after myself.
Among the plethora of office piles and clutter were:
- Half-finished projects,
- Papers that needed filing,
- Research notes that I never used (I knew I’d completed the research but couldn’t find my notes, go figure),
- Well-organized 3-ring project binders that weren’t on the shelves where they belonged and lots of papers that belonged in them that only needed punched and placed inside the binder,
- Office supplies that I hadn’t returned to the bins right. in. front. of. me,
- Papers related to procrastinated decisions (Did I want to attend XYZ convention?),
- Newly purchased office supplies that I’d just dropped on my desk,
- Trash…yep, :\
- Dog toys from when their bone chewing or toy squeaking seriously grated on my nerves, and I just couldn’t take it anymore (The dog toy bin is right outside of my office!),
- Miscellaneous items from when I switched out my purse.
Although incredibly frustrated with myself, I decided to set my timer and get the current mess cleaned up. Then I made a promise to myself to pick up after myself.
I’ve found that it works best for me to clear my desk every afternoon rather than clean up after each task. But that may not work for you. Experiment and find a system that helps you to pick up after yourself!
To learn more about how I use my trusty timer (and snag a FREE printable), check out this post: 6 Ways My Timer Saves My Sanity!
#2 One Thing at a Time
Do you find yourself rotating between typing a few sentences for a blog post, answering texts on your phone and emails on your computer, and jotting down items on a grocery list?
If not, bravo! You can skip this section.
But if this sounds familiar, then it’s time to drop the productivity-killing multitasking and focus on ONE thing at a time.
I’ve found it helpful to set a timer for 15-30 minutes and work on ONE project or task, ignoring all other attention stealing items until that timer goes off. It has helped my productivity to soar! It has also helped my office to stay more organized, because I don’t have all of the items required to work on multiple tasks out on my desk at the same time.
Any time I’m feeling frustrated with my lack of progress or completion, I think about my focus. Am I focusing on ONE thing? Or whirring from one task to another like a to-do list obsessed Tasmanian Devil? Almost always I discover that I’m not using my timer or focusing on one thing at a time.
Wondering where I store all of the aforementioned “items required” to work on tasks and projects when they aren’t spread out across my desk? Check out my post on How to Get Organized with a Tickler File!
#3 The Two-for-One Rule
Here’s the rule: for any new item you bring in, you throw away or give away TWO items.
I’ve used this rule with my kids for many years but never applied it to myself. What a huge mistake!
Once I started using this rule, I found that it not only kept clutter from taking over my space, it also helped me to be more intentional about my purchases.
Since I (try to) force myself to purge my two items as soon as I get home with new items, my focus is also on putting away my new items.
If I discover that I’m unwilling to purge two items, then I return my purchases!
Another one of my favorite tips for getting your home office organized is to create office zones! Learn more here: Supercharge Your Organization and Productivity with Office Zones.
BONUS TIP: Maintain Some Open Space
Open space is calming and refreshing! Seeing open space on my desk helps me to be ready and excited to get to work. Opening a drawer or a closet and seeing open space keeps me from feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and claustrophobic. The same is true of open space on shelving.
I didn’t truly understand this gem until after I’d been holding myself to the above-mentioned Two-for-One Rule for several months. By purging two items for each new one I brought in, I created some open space in my previously stuffed to the rafters home office. As a result, I was more focused, productive, and calm when working.
One way to create some open space in your home office? Eliminate paper clutter! Learn more HERE!
I know these 3 ways to instantly be more organized seem overly simple, but they can make a huge positive difference in your organization! Pick one and work with it until you’ve created a habit around it. Then add another one. You’ll be thrilled with your increased focus and productivity and feelings of calm!
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If you found today’s post helpful, you might enjoy these related posts!
Thanks for joining me today!