Kicking the Clutter: Six simple tips to increase workplace productivity

It is estimated that office professionals waste one hour per day looking for documents, papers and things they need. At least a couple of more hours are wasted because of procrastination and an inability to start. Ultimately, being organized will give you the clarity you need to move forward in your work and life.

An organized office will: improve your creativity and productivity; boost your work efficiency; lessen the stress that clutter creates; increase your ability to focus; and improve the relationship with your colleagues.

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Where to start?

Start in the area where your papers and stuff accumulate. Get rid of boxes with outdated papers, that treadmill you use as a coat rack, dirty coffee mugs, and knick-knacks from your many trips to Mexico or Disneyland. Create a working environment where you will be creative and productive. If you are in business, the first impression is everything.

Overwhelmed with a big project?

Before frustration sets in, divide your big project into small-sized tasks. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Decide how much time you want to devote to your project. Do one thing every day that your future self will thank you for. Celebrate even your smallest successes.

Change your thoughts

Many of us attach all kinds of strong emotions to work we don’t like to do. “I hate cleaning, filing, organizing, networking,” the list is endless. Nike says it the best, “Just do it.” Train your thoughts and emotions and fast forward to the time when you are finished with the task. How would you feel seeing your desktop organized and all your projects done?

Do it, delegate or ditch it

Make a decision about what to do with a long-overdue project. Re-evaluate the project to see if it is still important for you to finish. Three questions to ask yourself are: Is it going to make me more money? Will it increase my productivity? Will it make my life better and simpler?

Use a kitchen timer

Use the kitchen/oven timer to time your chores and projects. Most of us underestimate or overestimate the time we will take to accomplish everyday chores. We wait for the chunks of time to finish the projects that take only 10 minutes or less to finish.

Maintain your office

At the end of every working day, schedule 15 minutes to clear your desk of unwanted papers and things. If possible, file every day or at least once per week. The longer you postpone this unpleasant task, the more overwhelmed you will feel. Make sure to declutter your filing system at least once a year. The best time to declutter it is in January as you are getting ready to file your taxes.

Ranka Burzan owns a professional organizing company based in Powell River and has written several books on reducing clutter and becoming more organized. For information, go to


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