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3 ways to spring clean at work


Over time, it’s easy for messy workplace habits to build up. You’re often so busy getting work done that important administrative tasks - such as correct file storage and document control - can get a little neglected.

Unfortunately, this will eventually result in broken processes and lost files, which make it harder to get work done. Here are three great ways to spring clean at work and get your administrative tasks under control!

1. Declutter your digital workspace

If you find yourself struggling to find old emails or files, it might be time to clean up your computer. Here are four simple tips:

  • Desktop full of thumbnails? If you have a messy desktop, it’s time to set up a folder system and start organizing your files. Be sure to backup any important files.
  • Don’t let your downloaded files gather dust. If you don’t need old downloaded files, delete them. For those that you do need, organize them into folders.
  • Clean up your inbox. The best way to do this will depend on your settings and how you like to review your emails. Take a few moments to decide the best way to set up your folders (for example, by department, topic, project, or chronologically) and then start organizing your mail. Consider using Archive functions and the Search function to expedite this process.
  • After you’ve finished decluttering your inbox, consider using the DISCUSSIONS view on our intranet rather than an email. It’ll reduce the quantity of emails you’re sending/receiving and it’s very easy to find any files or links you’ve shared within a Discussion.

2. Clean up your workspace

A tidy workspace can boost productivity in the long run. How you organize your space will depend on your needs, but consider these five tips to stay organized:

  • Keep only necessary items within arm’s reach. Anything you don’t need daily should be stored on a shelf or in a desk drawer.
  • Tackle any errant piles of paper. If you find you often have a large pile of papers gathering at your desk, set up a simple storage system using folders or binders. Shred anything that’s unnecessary.
  • How many pens do you really need? If you have a large collection of unused stationery, keep only the pieces that you truly need. Donate or store the rest.
  • Replace old posters. If you have inspirational quotes or fun posters at your workspace, consider replacing them with some fresh ideas. Mix it up and stay motivated!
  • Add it your calendar. If you find you don’t have time to file or clean as you go, reserve a few minutes in your calendar every week for tidying your space. Sometimes this may seem impossible due to workload, but making these few minutes a reality will avoid slower processes in the future.

3. Calm the chaos by unclogging your calendar

Do you find you’re often overrun with meetings or running late for them? Cleaning up your calendar and rethinking your meeting attendance will help avoid this. Here are five ideas:

  • Don’t attend or schedule more than two meetings back-to-back. You’ll reduce your chances of being late, give yourself more time to be properly prepared, and give your brain a break.  
  • Book some time for personal work. Set up a meeting and invite only yourself, that way no-one will invite you to another meeting or disturb you. Be strict with this time and dedicate it to getting through a specific project on your to-do list.
  • Do you need a full hour? Some calendars automatically assume you need a full hour for your meeting. Before accepting this default, think about if you can productively power through your meeting in just 30 minutes.
  • Conflicts in your calendar can lead to conflicts in the workplace. If you have two conflicting meetings, accept one and rearrange (or reject) the other. This will make life simpler for everyone.
  • Understand the agenda. If you don’t understand the purpose of a meeting, you can’t be properly prepared. Rather than reject the meeting, ask the leader of the meeting what the intention is and then let them know if you can or can’t attend.