4 Workplace Organization Tips for the Hopelessly Disorganized

Three ring binders

If you were asked to put a dollar amount on the time we waste looking for lost items, you probably wouldn’t choose $177 billion. And yet that is exactly how much office disorder costs corporate America each year.

You may not care how corporate America views your neatness (or lack thereof), but when asked if they judge coworkers by the cleanliness of their office, a majority of Americans said yes. Similarly, 80% of people believe disorganization can hamper productivity.

Whether we care or not, the state of our work space affects how others view us and thus can affect our success (or lack thereof). When it comes time for a promotion or that annual raise, who would you reward: the person with a place for everything and everything in its place (gosh, we hate him!), or the person who misplaced the laser printer labels and stopped operations last month?

If you’re like us, organization doesn’t make your heart sing. Don’t despair: We’ve devised four clever fixes that will instantly boost your organizational appearance (because really appearance is all that matters):

  1. Keep a spiral bound graph paper notebook beside your desk or in your hands at all times.

    A spiral bound graph paper notebook sounds oddly specific, we know, but hear us out:
    Spiral bound means no more loose paper and it has a cover so you can close it against peeping eyes. It’s more compact than a little ring binder. (Who carries binders around with them, anyway?)

    Graph paper not only looks more technical than lined paper, it’s more list-friendly. This way you can write your notes in perfectly aligned columns and rows.

    A small spiral bound graph paper notebook is also portable, making it perfect for those weekly meetings. Just wait until you see the look on your colleagues faces when you walk in with your new spiral bound graph paper notebook to take diligent notes.Or make lists ranking your favorite badminton teams or coffee creamers. It doesn’t really matter what you write, so long as you do so with a contemplative expression on your face.
  2. Encourage your office to buy supplies in bulk.

    Request 1 inch binders in bulk. With an abundance of binders, it’s far easier to act on that sudden organizational impulse (ha!) or to claim ten or twenty binders for yourself. Line them up along your desk or shelves. Simply having a bunch of binders in your office will earn you 10 Importance Points.
  3. Don’t forget the numbered dividers, too!

    This way you can be organized inside and out. Dividers also add bulk, so if a coworker happens to peek into your Brilliant Ideas Binder, it’ll look like there’s actually something in it.
  4. Last but not least: laser labels.

    We love labels. Forget rings, putting a label on it makes it official. Label each of your binders and while you’re at it, make a laser inkjet label for your spiral bound graph paper notebook. “Important Information,” or “Bill’s Key Insights,” or “Classified” are all good options guaranteed to intimidate coworkers into believing you know something they don’t.

So there you have it: Instant organization for the hopelessly unorganized, brought to you in plenty of time for Spring Cleaning (shudder!).

Don’t let us monopolize the conversation, though. What organizational tricks do you have? Share them in the comments below.

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