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How Cleaning Up Your Desk and Computer Can Make You More Productive

Is your desk piled high with work to do?
Do you jot notes on scrap paper or napkins and then loose them?
Are you flustered when your boss comes into your office and requests a file?
Will that file the boss requests be complete and up-to-date, containing all the information needed?
Do you panic to find agendas and background material before attending a meeting?
Additionally, are you having the same problem with your computer storage system?

 

Then you need to adopt these 5 practices to clean up your desk and digital data stored on your computer. You can become more productive and have less stress. This renowned Japanese management philosophy is known as 5S. As the name implies, 5S consists of five practices; Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. (The Japanese equivalents are Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke).

 

1. Sort
a. Write a list of the categories of issues you deal with. If your company already had a system of classification use it.
b. Sort all the papers and files on your desk or work area into individual piles for each classification. Write the classifications on masking tape and put the tape on the wall where the pile is developing. Use the floor too, if necessary. Separate everything into these piles.
c. Put each pile into a labelled file folder or other appropriate container and put away in a filing cabinet or box.
d. Keep material that you use most frequently easily available.
e. Only keep the papers, file or material that you are working on at eh moment on your desk.
f. Now set up a filing system on your computer that matches the physical filing system.
g. At the end of the work day clear everything off your desk. Shut off your computer.

 

2. Straighten
a. Have an in basket and an out basket on your desk. Keep a garbage bin under your desk.
b. File material in a functional way. Keep all meetings you attend in one section. Keep reports and research in another section. A never fail alternative is to file alphabetically.
c. Use labels that are easily recognizable and readable. Maybe use red for meeting file tabs, green tabs for projects you are working on and yellow tabs for research.
d. Be sure to show staff who may be filing items where to file them properly.
e. Use the same system on for data files on your computer.

 
3. Shine
a. Scrap paper, removed stapes, dust should be cleaned off your desk at the end of each work day. Wipe up coffee spills.
b. Clean the keyboard of your computer. Dust the computer screen and the printer.

 
4. Standardize
a. Encourage colleagues to establish rules and define organization of materials and tools used so there is a common understanding when sharing materials in throughout the organization.
b. The larger the organization is the more important a common system in order to communicate effectively either through print of digital means.

 
5. Sustain
a. Keep it up!
To do high quality work efficiently you need to be in an organized and clean environment.
You will be productive with less stress. You colleagues will appreciate your quick and reliable support. Your customers will admire your ability to stay on top of their interests.

 

Adapted From: https://www.bdc.ca/EN/articles-tools/operations/operational-efficiency/Pages/lean-manufacturing-using-5s-method.aspx?emaillinksource=bodyimage&utm_campaign=Lead-nurturing–27-Improve-your-productivity–EN&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

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