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Recently, we helped you organize your workspace and we promised that more advice was on the way. Well, here it is. Once your physical space is organized, you want to keep it that way and one of the best ways to do that is to organize your digital space as well. Having an organized and efficient desk and desktop will do wonders for your productivity – no more lost time searching for misfiled documents, misplaced notes or forgotten meetings.
De-clutter your desktop
Attack your desktop the same way you would your physical desk space. Discard any unnecessary or unused shortcuts or add those that will make your life easier. A clean desktop will start your productivity in the right direction as soon as you turn on your computer.
The best way to avoid a pile of paper on your desk is to stop printing unnecessary documents that you are only going to file away anyway. We’re willing to be that you usually print something off, let the paper accumulate on your desk and then file away when the pile gets unbearable. Don’t worry, we’re guilty of it too. Why not save the hassle and go digital. Just make sure to do regular back-ups just in case.
Enter the cloud
Digital filing gives you the opportunity to access your files anytime, anywhere. With tools like Google Drive, Dropbox and Evernote (to name a few), you can store your files online, sync them with your digital devices and have them at your fingertips, literally. You will also have the ability to share your files push of a button or tap of a screen. Printing is even made easy with new innovations allowing you to sync your apps to your MFP. Best of all, you won’t be wasting time searching files and documents manually. Digital search functions will bring up what you’re looking for in seconds.
Organize your schedule
It happens to the best of us, an appointment gets forgotten or a meeting gets missed. It’s time to move away from writing appointments in your calendar and start typing them. Programs like iCal, Outlook and Google Calendar can be synced to your digital devices and remind you about upcoming events as you see fit. You can also send invitations to events and meetings as needed, enabling you to keep track of who has responded, who is attending and who you still need to reach out to. When everything is synced together, you won’t suffer the embarrassment of a missed meeting again.
Tidy up your inbox
How many emails are in your inbox right now? We’re going to guess too many to be easily navigated. Create a clear folder structure that will allow you to organize and empty your inbox. When you receive new emails, open it, read and respond as necessary and file it immediately. You don’t have to open each email as soon as it comes in if it is not marked as urgent. Turn off distracting notifications if you need to so that you stay focused on the tasks at hand and check a few times a day instead of every time a new email arrives. You’ll start seeing your work being done in a much more timely fashion and as a bonus, your inbox won’t be a cluttered and overwhelming space.
Clean up your contacts
You probably have a contact list and is constantly growing and not always appropriately organized. Take the time to go through your contacts clean it out. Group according to co-workers, clients, family, friends or any other list you need. If you have past clients that you no longer work with, but don’t want to lose their information, create a folder for them too. As you clean up, give yourself time to input notes about each person or company to give yourself the most information you can get as quickly as possible.
With your physical and digital space now a chaos-free zone, watch your stress fade away. Not only will you be able to be more productive, you will just feel better about your new organized life. Be honest, how much better is is to work at a clean desk and desktop?