Clean Up Your Workspace After Busy Season

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Now that the busy season for accountants can be spoken of the past tense, many offices and desks look like they just barely survived a tornado. If your workspace could use a dose of spring cleaning, here are some quick tips for getting cleaned up and organized.

  • Set aside a specific amount of time for the office cleaning task. Rather than trying to squeeze the job in between phone calls, designate specific time for this job. Consider scheduling the time on your calendar so that you'll be sure not to be interrupted. If your work will be performed more efficiently in a clean and organized space, then the time you spend cleaning up will be a worthwhile part of your workday.
  • Have organization aids handy when you begin the job. File folders, labels, pens, a wastebasket, storage boxes, your calendar, and other tools will be useful when you begin sorting the items in your workspace.
  • Work with a clear space. If you plan to organize your shelves, empty the shelves, then sort the items as you place them back on the shelves. This works better than trying to organize the shelves while they are still full. The same goes for your desktop, desk drawers, and any other cluttered space that you plan to attack.

Once you've got your workspace organized in a manner that will allow you to work efficiently and productively, keep it that way! Designate a specific time each day - just a few minutes is all it will take - to return your workspace to its organized condition. Get re-organized right after lunch for a fresh start on the afternoon, do a clean sweep again before you leave at the end of the day so your work area will be clean and ready for you first thing the next morning. Or take advantage of a mid-afternoon drowsy spell to get up on your feet and pick up after yourself.

For more information on cleaning up your own office disaster area, see the tips on

If you're contemplating a major organization overhaul, consider some of this reading material:

If You Haven't Got the Time to Do It Right, When Will You Find the Time to Do It Over?" by Jeffrey J. Mayer
Jeffrey Mayer's unique approach to staying afloat in a sea of paperwork provides quick, practical ways to become organized and efficient. A nationally known expert on time management, Mayer offers tips guaranteed to save up to an hour a day.

"Organizing from the Inside Out", by Julie Morgenstern
Julie Morgenstern's organizing book covers a new way of looking at the task of organizing effectively without labeling or blaming the person behind the lack of organization. Rather, she says, people who don't organize just never learned how to organize, through no fault of their own--after all, it's not a skill that's taught in school. That said, she gets down to work helping you figure out an organizing system that will really work for you, not a system based on cookie-cutter filing concepts or special storage units.

"Organize Your Office!: Simple Routines for Managing Your Workspace", by Ronnie Eisenberg
Ronni Eisenberg, who lectures and gives workshops on organization skills throughout the U.S., has brought together a slew of practical tips for managing your workspace, from your briefcase to your bulletin board, from your e-mail inbox to those endless interruptions from coworkers. She covers the basics, including organizing your desktop and stemming the flood of junk mail (send a note to the Direct Marketing Association). She also hits upon modern organizational dilemmas, such as how to decide if you'd be better off with or without a PalmPilot.

Or, if you have time to participate in an online course on the subject, consider the free course, "Organizing from the Inside Out", offered by Barnes and Noble University. Read the classroom material and you'll learn a step-by-step process for organizing your workspace, home, or any other area that is important to you.

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