It’s hard enough worrying about gigabytes and terabytes. Not to mention the incredible intricacies involved with converting your existing database management architecture to a storage area network.
Indeed, the last thing you need is to waste precious time searching for missing hardcopy documents two minutes before the start of a big meeting.
Well, relax. I've consulted some of the world’s foremost authorities on workspace organization – as well as IT professionals and they’ve come up with smart and proven suggestions that will help you save time every day by reclaiming your workspace.
To follow are some easy tips to make sure your high-tech work area gets organized and stays that way:
Setting up a desktop file is simple, and many such products come complete with file folders and indexing tabs plus a plastic holder to keep everything neatly organized in the corner of your desk. To make the most of your desktop file, assign a different day of the week to each folder and drop-in project documents as the week proceeds, then at the end of week, transfer the documents to your permanent file cabinet.
Many IT people find themselves working in crowded “bullpen-style” work areas where people are literally on top of each other. It’s important to seclude your workspace and claim it as your own, so that you can better concentrate on your work. One idea for doing this is to strategically place a bookcase or a floor plant near your desk to provide some privacy. Another idea is to “build walls” around your work area, perhaps by stacking binders at the corner of your desk. This will accomplish two things: you can organize paperwork in the binders and keep them from cluttering your desk, and at the same time, block off your territory to create a secluded atmosphere.
The emphasis in creating and maintaining a filing approach that works best for your enterprise is to establish a coordinated system of filing and stick to it. Filing experts from such organizations as NAPO (National Organization of Professionals Organizers) recommend alphabetic filing systems because they’re the simplest to understand and the easiest to maintain.
In an alphabetic filing system, you assign filing categories by name or subject, creating filing tabs that correspond to the first letter of each name or subject. The key to organizing your files most efficiently however is to make certain you don’t stray from the system by, perhaps, arranging some files alphabetically and some numerically. Keeping your filing methods consistent will help you accomplish the most vital thing in good recordkeeping: finding what you want, quickly.
For example, you might store “technical specifications” in red folders, “supplier information” in blue folders, and “follow-up data” in green folders. Studies by color experts have proven that by categorizing your file subjects into different colored folders you can actually reduce the time it takes to find individuals files by 50%.
Of course, there are many other uses for labels in your work area. The people who know labeling best, DYMO – makers of LabelWriter® Label Printers – suggest creating labels for drive bays on computers, shelves in the supply closet, cabinet drawers, video tapes, and just about anything else that needs to be organized. Electronic labelers are also great for printing your own address and shipping labels. When creating mailing labels, you can even download contact information from such programs as ACT! and Microsoft® Outlook, then print the information directly onto your labels without re-typing your contact names or addresses.
William Nunoz, Telecom Development Director for Advanced Communications Systems, Inc. of Fort Lee, New Jersey, recommends the simple solution of standing your manuals upright on the shelves using bookends and arranging the manuals in alphabetical order. “Alphabetizing my reference materials on the shelf took a few moments in the beginning, but once I got everything arranged, I found it so much easier to look-up what I needed when I needed it. ”
Sharon Mann is an organizational expert for Pendaflex (http://www.pendaflex.com ), the world’s leading maker of innovative organizing products. Sharon also serves as president of the Pendaflex® “I Hate Filing” club a dedicated group of nearly 100,000 office professionals who dislike filing but love finding new ways to become more organized and more productive in the workplace.