How to Get Organized at Work: Spring Cleaning Edition

From taxes to color-coding, we've got you covered.

How to Get Organized at Work

The time change is behind us here in the United States, and warm weather is (hopefully) just around the corner. What better time for a little spring cleaning at the office?

Now we don’t mean cleaning literally — unless it’s your keyboard (you really should go clean your keyboard) — we mean that it’s time to declutter that desk area, put some order to those papers and documents, and maybe spruce the cubicle a bit while you’re at it.

If you’re ready figure out how to get organized at work, this week’s roundup puts strategies and inspiration at your fingertips. From taking stock of your progress on your business goals, to getting organized for tax season, to adding a little color and pizzaz to your desk area — we offer good advice to start the season on a fresh note.

Ready to roll up your sleeves? Whether you work from home or in an office, these tips may be just what you’re looking for.

How to Spring Clean Your Business

There’s something about spring that makes us want to kick the clutter and start fresh. And that doesn’t just mean our homes — it means our businesses too.

At the office, a spring clean doesn’t mean breaking out the vacuum or duster, it means taking stock of what’s working well and what’s not, and getting your team mentally rebooted after a long winter.

Sound intriguing? Then have a look at Time to Spring Clean Your Business? Here’s How to Do It by All Access Group CEO Kelli Richards, featured in Inc. It lists a 4-step process to make your business healthier and more profitable as we welcome back the warm weather.

Her first piece of advice is to take stock of progress towards your 2016 goals. “Take inventory of your mindset,” she urges. “The year is 25 percent over. Are you where you want to be?” Once you’ve had a good look at your progress, it sets up the rest of the process to go find the resources you and your team need to stay on track.

But don’t think it’s all a cerebral exercise; Richards does have you addressing physical clutter in your workspace. It’s amazing, she says, what cleaning up clutter can do for your productivity.

If you’re ready to make a clean sweep at the office — especially if you’re interested in making it a team effort — this article can show you how to get started.

Spring Cleaning for Tax Season

Ah, spring! When a worker’s thoughts turn to…taxes.

Yes, as we welcome the light back in the evening, many of us also spend a good portion of it gathering up receipts and records and preparing to file our federal income taxes.

Although we’ve come along way from the shoebox filled with receipts (err..we have, haven’t we?), for many people, the tax prep process can always stand to be more organized and smooth. Enter Kelly Spors and her anxiety-taming article How to Give Your Business and Tax Records a Spring Cleaning for Office Depot.

Still hanging on to statements and receipts from past years? That clutter can add up. Whether you’re looking for the motivation to purge — or the guidance on what records to keep — Spors has the authoritative answers (she embeds the link to succinct IRS guidance right in her first tip, so you can declutter with confidence). Knowing when to purge what can keep things streamlined, especially if most of your documentation is hard-copy.

Speaking of which: the rest of Spors’ advice targets how to move from paper to paperless, in a measured and managed way. If you need deeper guidance — and maybe a scanner recommendation or two — she links out to other articles that walk you through the process. (Work in a small business? Check out her first paragraph, where there’s a link to an excellent Forbes-sourced article on tips for small businesses during tax season.)

Can you imagine heading into a tax season where your digital records are already fully organized and indexed? If you’re ready to spend more hours enjoying the spring weather — and less time organizing your paper trail — read this article to begin making that dream a reality.

8 Ways to Streamline for Spring

Got 30 minutes? We have a project for you. And the payoff will put a spring in your step.

Katie Sweeney is a former celebrity personal assistant and she knows how to reboot daily habits and make the most of small pockets of time. Her advice, How to Streamline Your Life in 8 Steps for My Domaine blog, is an amazingly practical list that’s fully relevant to work life.

Decluttering is at the top of her list. She advocates a vigorous spring cleaning of any item that doesn’t bring a smile to your face. While this needs to be adapted slightly for work (no fair trying to get rid of the office fax machine), it does make for a good rule of thumb for how you organize your cubicle.

Sweeney focuses the same zeal towards going paperless, automating purchases and bills, and making advance plans for the week. We especially liked the advice on batching tasks together. Mundane tasks, especially, benefit from being grouped together and dispensed with all at once.

As a self-proclaimed neat freak, Sweeney seems militantly organized — we found ourselves daydreaming about her as our personal assistant, and having both our work tasks and mid-week dinners planned down to a T.

Whether you’re lucky to have your own assistant — or just want to reap the benefits of some simple, but impactful, ideas — check out her tips for streamlining and staying organized.

Color-Code Your Office

Getting — and staying — organized doesn’t have to be drudgery. In fact, you can unleash your creativity to create systems that are both eye-catching and effective for keeping things in their in proper place. Think of it as spring cleaning with a side of pizzaz.

In 14 Ways to Use Color to Organize Your Office by assistant editor Joshua Sophy for Small Business Trends, we get the skinny on using color to organize the physical and the digital items we use in the office every day.

One obvious place to start is the filing cabinet: how about different colors for different clients or project types? Using the same color system for related appointments in your day planner or digital schedule lets you take it even further.

Another great idea is to color-code the various cables and cords that nest under our desks. (We once found out the hard way that WiFi power cords look disastrously similar to digital clock cords — maybe a literal red flag could have prevented that mistake!) Sophy even has some advice for using color to help organize people at live events or just around the office space.

Looking to add color — and fun — to an office organization project? Have a look at these tips. They might just be the inspiration you need to tackle that spring cleaning project you have on your list.

Little Changes Lead to Big Payoffs

Even if you’re happy with your office space, giving it some springtime TLC can mean a boost to your productivity — and creativity. So says Jessica Learish for Bustle’s lifestyle blog.

In 6 Little Ways To Improve Your Home Office, Because Your Creativity Depends On It,” Learish shows us that improving little things — from mice to monitors — can have a lot of impact. Best of all, her tips work whether you’re at home or in a traditional office (everything comes boss-approved, we promise).

First things first: She begins with a few tips on dialing in the ergonomics of your desk and computer. While pamphlets on posture often get tossed unread (remember the one that came attached to your new office chair?), there is back- and neck-saving advice in those diagrams. If setting up your desk for better posture is something you’ve been meaning to get around to, Learish has both the specifics — and the inspiration — to get you started quickly.

And the rest of the tips? Easy, low-cost, doable-on-your-break tweaks to lift your mood — and your productivity along with it. Our favorite tip? Adding plant life to our work space, even though we don’t exactly have a green thumb. (Learish links out to a study that office plants enhance memory retention — so why is it we can never remember to water ours?)

This article is a delightful nudge to put some style into your clean routine. If your desk area could use a little spring zephyr, these tips — complete with inspirational photos — can put a little spring in your step.

Once your space is organized, it’s time to pay attention to process: Find out how you can use routines to drive world-class performance at your job >>