Notes on Workspace Organization
More detail could be given, but in the meantime they outline the big picture. I especially find helpful the observation that all of the permanent stuff you might have at your desk falls into four categories: supplies, equipment, reference, and decoration.
After that, the concept of centers is especially useful (although I currently do things a bit differently than what is represented in these notes).
Stuff At Your Desk
- Supplies: In drawers. Small stocks (only what need). Extras in supply room.
- Reference: File cabinets, bookshelves.
- Decoration: On desk, walls; keep limited.
- Equipment: On desk if used more than once per day; else, drawers.
- Input to be processed: In box
- Current work items
- [If not electronic] Action reminders: Calendar, next action lists, project lists
- [If desired; I think these go best in a file drawer at your desk] Project support materials: Active projects file; planner.
Work Centers At Your Desk
- Phone center
- Computer center
- Capture tool center or planner center [if you use a paper tool for either]
- Work center
- Pen/pencil/related supplies center
- Mailing/finance center (if needed)
- Stapler/filing center
File Centers [in file drawers]:
- Like with like. One spot for all books. All filing cabinets together. Create centers for different tasks by grouping everything necessary for them together.
- Purge. All things that are unused or ill-suited should be tossed.
- Access. Goal is fingertip management. Use an L, U, or parallel shape for your desk. U is best, as it allows easiest access to the most desk space and equipment. Move infrequently used equipment, reference materials, and supplies to another room.
- Contain: Keep files in cabinets, books on shelves, and supplies in drawers.
- Evaluate: How do you feel? Does the work flow?
- The desk is a place to do work. Use REMOVE to reduce clutter and arrange desk properly.
- Reduce distractions.
- Everyday use (if not, drawers).
- Preferred side (all things go on right side if you are right handed; phone is one exception–it goes on opposite side).
- Organize together: Create work centers for phone, computer, time, etc. Phone center should include phone, message pad, pen nearby. Good for capturing thoughts and tossing into in-box as well.
- Empty the center (so you can work).
- Supplies are for the drawers. Group like things together. Turn each drawer into a work center: Central is pen/pencil; others are mailing/finance and stapler/filing.