We’d like to introduce Jenny Dietsch, owner of Getting it Done Organizing as our guest blogger! Jenny is an incredibly talented, professional, Dallas based organizer and we thank her for fabulous tips below. Check them out!
By Jenny Dietsch, Chief Executive Organizer @GettingitDoneOrganizing
Can I share a secret? There is no greater value to be had in home organizing than that which comes from creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing workspace. After all, this is where you conduct your business – be it the management of your home or your business. This is the spot where you sit down to be productive. It is where you think, create, organize and strategize. It pays off to create a spot where you have what you need when you need it. One study found office disorganization costs the average person 38 working hours a year – that’s basically one entire week. And, it’s no secret, science has proven that when our space is organized and pleasing to the eye, our productivity is significantly enhanced. Could you use a productivity boost? Read on.
Priority one in a work space is the desktop. You want to have an environment free of distractions; one conducive to efficient output. So, first, create open space for writing and placing things in the moment. We call this white space. I recommend you strive to maintain optimal white space on your desktop. Second comes technology. Interestingly, studies have been done on laptop and screen placement. The ideal location is eye level, 17 inches from your body. So, there you go.
Desktops are magnets for homework, bills, reports, doctor’s notes, coupons, and more. I get it. The struggle is real. But it helps when each item has a home. Try an inbox. Depending on your needs, you may want an incoming and an outgoing spot, or you may even benefit from further defined specific inboxes for children, work, etc. Next, choose an aesthetically pleasing pencil holder. Fill it with the pens, markers, sharpies and other writing tools you use regularly. Finally, it’s great to include a favorite picture and a trinket or two on your desktop, but make sure they don’t interfere with your workspace or crowd out your white space.
The Desk Drawer
I recommend setting up a functional desk drawer. Consider what items need to be included. Scissors, paperclips, rubber bands, maybe hand lotion, hand sanitizer and a fingernail file. If you have an existing workspace, look around your current desktop and determine what could be stored away in the drawer to provide you with optimal open desk space. If you use it regularly, you want it to be handy. Getting up to grab a paperclip or stapler pulls you off task, taking away your time and derailing your brain focus.
Avoid just dumping everything into the drawer. Use dividers to organize the contents. I love the Everything Drawer inserts from the Container Store. Right now, they are offering 20% off office supplies (and more) so now is a great time to purchase what you need. You can have supplies shipped, or order to pick up at the store curbside.
Next, find a spot in the general area of your workspace to store your larger items: printer paper, file folders, books, etc. Use functional bins that work within the space you have available for storage. Find ones that make sense for what you own. Label the contents of your storage bins for easy access, or choose clear, see-through containers. If your budget allows, consider partnering with a contractor to create bookshelves and other custom storage.
The Paperless Office
I’m a big fan of digital storage. There is no need to store a bunch of paper copies in bulky filing cabinets that take up valuable space. What’s more, digital storage allows for easy, intuitive access once you establish an online filing system. Try scanning the kids’ shot records to make summer camp and school registration quick and simple. Scan report cards and recipes to get them off the refrigerator!
Modern technology has made scanning simple. You don’t need a clunky scanner. Check out CamScanner or Evernote – both offer free and simple-to-use scanning capabilities. Evernote also provides the infrastructure for establishing a filing system that is accessible (and shareable) via desktop or mobile device.
Yep, Kitchen Desks Can Be Functional Work Spaces
Not everyone has a designated room in their home for the office. And, sometimes, regardless if there is an official office, a kitchen desk just makes the most sense for the workspace. Kitchen work spaces can be as functional as a traditional office. Just make sure you designate one drawer to serve as the spot for housing the office supplies. You are still going to benefit from having an inbox, you just want to make sure it jives aesthetically with the space. And, depending on your overall kitchen space, you might consider maintaining an open cabinet where you can easily tuck the inbox and laptop away when cooking or receiving guests.
This Translates to the Kids, Too!
Children benefit from having their own organized space for work and play. I recommend following the same strategies suggested for adults. Maintain white space for writing, coloring, painting, and building. Use functional storage solutions for colors, markers, paint and paper. Store items where they are easily accessible in clearly marked containers. Encourage the maintenance and longevity of your organization by showing the children that each item has a home and explaining that, when items are put away properly, they can be easily found the next time they are needed.
Make Tidying Up Part of Your Routine
If you’ve currently got a less-than-organized workspace, we recommend blocking out an hour or two for clean-up and reorganization. Pull everything off the desk and out of the desk drawer and place it on the floor. As you put items back into place, consider if what you are touching warrants being kept. Purge as necessary. If the clean-up task feels overwhelming, break it into manageable chunks. One drawer one day, then the desktop another, and the storage closet another day, and so on.
Once you have the space as you like it, make tidying up a part of your daily routine. Some find it makes sense to do this at the end of the day. Others may choose to tidy up when they are generally the least productive, saving their greatest brain energy for more involved tasks. Find what works for you and stick to it. Remind yourself of the benefits that come from a clean, organized environment. Note the satisfaction your feel when you walk into your clean, organized space to begin your work each day.
A Few Incremental Productivity Strategies
The organization of your physical space provides the foundation you need for greater productivity. We recommend coupling this with a few proven productivity strategies for even greater gains:
- Set aside a specific time (or times, depending on the work you do) to process email. Jumping right into an email when it comes through pulls you off the task at hand, costing you valuable time as your pivot in your mind from one task to another.
- Try putting your phone in airplane mode to eliminate the distractions of emails, texts and social media notifications.
- Institute some time-blocking. Review your tasks and bucket your responsibilities with defined time on your calendar. Be reasonable with what you can accomplish. In fact, I suggest starting with overgenerous time slots. Stick to your schedule and if you finish something sooner than planned, you’ll have some bonus time.
Why not invest some time today organizing and creating your ideal workspace? You’ll be rewarded with greater efficiency and productivity. The sense of calm you manifest through a tidy environment will enhance your output – and your mood. Happy work spaces make for happy homes! And that’s a solid return on investment.
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More about the author and organizer:
Jenny Dietsch, owner of Getting it Done Organizing, is a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) who believes order and beauty in the home bring peace and contentment. She and her team are committed to creating functional and aesthetically pleasing systems for their clients and their families. In addition to professional home organization and decluttering, Getting It Done Organizing offers home staging, moving assistance, and holiday prep/clean-up services. You can contact Jenny at [email protected] and follow her Facebook and Instagram.