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New Year, New You: Organizing Your Workspace for an Efficient Year


The new year means a fresh start— a time when we're all mentally primed to tackle something new, make an improvement, or try out a new way of doing things during the first days and weeks of a new year. Taking advantage of this natural tendency in yourself and your team increases the chances that the changes you make to get organized will be accepted and adopted by all. What changes should you make to organize your workplace for success and efficiency in the new year? We've gathered a few of our favorites below.

Eliminate the old

The Harvard Business Review recommends clearing out clutter and getting rid of things you do not need to create a more efficient workspace. It makes sense—you can't really see what you need to work on if your desk is covered with papers. Set a cleanup day toward the end of the year to shred old papers, archive old accounts, and sift through the accumulation of a year's (or more) worth of paperwork and output. Depending on your business, you may need to keep specific papers for a set amount of time, but these can still be archived and do not need to clutter up the active workplace. Shred everything you can and archive the rest, and you'll be ready for a fresh start.

Label and sort

Whether you opt to sort by color, by client, or by the alphabet, labeling and sorting your items makes it easy for you to find everything swiftly. If you have co-workers or collaborators, then properly labeling all items ensures that someone else can find what they need when viewing your files. Put like items together so you can easily access the items needed for a task or set of tasks and keep the things you use most often in close reach. You'll be able to work more efficiently if you are not constantly looking for things or heading to different spots for supplies. Invest in organizational supplies that will make it easier for you to keep everything together.

Comfort matters

This is also the time to assess the comfort of your workspace. Your chair, the height of your desk or work table, and even the ease of opening drawers and containers—all of these things directly contribute to your health and comfort as you work. Creating a fresh physical space can also make it easier for you to adapt to a new routine; you'll be in that "new" mindset and more accepting of changes. If you have employees, a fresh new workstation or chair can do wonders for comfort and morale as well. If you need a small heater or fan to be comfortable, this is the time to add one, too.

Clean it out

You've dumped the clutter; now give everything a thorough cleaning. When your desk is covered in papers, it is probably not cleaned as often as it could be. Your phone, stapler, desktop, and other surfaces could be harboring germs. This new season is the perfect time for a fresh and healthy start.

Incorporate style

It may be a utilitarian space, but you can incorporate personal touches as well. Family photos, a favorite piece of art, beautiful cards and papers, and other items make your workspace attractive, so you'll want to spend more time there. According to the Huffington Post, incorporating beauty and organization into your desktop supplies and items can actually make you happier and boost your productivity, too.

Organize your digital life

Your laptop screen might be as cluttered as your actual desk, so take the time to bring new and current projects to the desktop and archive everything else. This is also the time to check your subscriptions, make sure you are actually using anything you've subscribe to (SaaS that still charges you but is unused drags your budget down but provides no benefits each month) and renew or update software as needed.

Do these things before you leave at the end of the year and you'll be well positioned to take advantage of the fresh start afforded by the new year. You'll love heading back to an organized workplace and the sense of accomplishment you get from starting the year off right.

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