How To Maintain an Organized Office

Your office can go from this…

Clients often ask me why their office doesn’t stay organized. My response is always the same: office organization, like any other type of organization, requires upkeep. Upkeep is described as “E” in the SPACE system. “E” stands for Equalize, which is the maintenance required to keep the system working once the organizing project is complete. Like paperwork, email, calendar management, or any other task, organizing is not a one and done thing. It requires regular work to maintain.

As a reminder, SPACE stands for Sort (like with like) Purge (unneeded, unused, unwanted items), Assign a Home (figure out where items will live) Contain (prevents one group of items from negatively impacting another group of items) and E (Equalize.)

I also use the SAVE process to create organizing systems. The best organizing systems, and those that last the longest, employ Simplicity, Accessibility, and Visibility, Every day. 

Both strategies can be utilized to organize your workspace.

…to this!

So, how do you maintain an organized office?

First, SPACE your workspace. SPACE everything – the desks, the drawers, the shelves, your file system, and, if it’s used as storage, the floor.

  • Set a timer for 15-20 minutes, and then do as much as possible in the area in which you’re working.
  • Establish your decision matrix. If something is broken, out of date, no longer relevant, makes the office look cluttered (say, excessive décor), or you otherwise do not love, use, or need it, consider downsizing it.
  • But, do be aware of any industry compliance issues when downsizing. Industry compliance applies mostly to documentation but can apply to other things as well.
  • Remember that sometimes documents need to be kept even if there is not an immediate (or potentially ever) use for them.

Once an area is SPACE’d, set up Zones.

  • Determine which type of work happens where and set up zones to facilitate this.

Use the ‘Fingertip Method’.

  • Items used regularly should be within reach so you don’t have to get up to retrieve them.
  • This includes writing implements, a stapler, phone stand, scissors, tissues, places for coffee or teacup and water, Post It notes, a note pad and your To Do box. And of course your desktop or laptop, or both.
  • Items not needed on a regular basis can be stored elsewhere.

That takes care of your physical space. The final step to maintaining an organized office is organizing your virtual desktop. A cluttered desktop reduces productivity because it takes longer to find what you need. It may even render the search function less productive.

  • Use the same principles to organize your virtual desktop that you use for your physical desktop.
  • SPACE each file, downsizing items you no longer need, want, or use.
  • Then place the remaining files into organized folders.
  • Consider setting up a File Index so you know where items are located.
  • Do this in small chunks of 15-20 minutes on a regular basis to avoid build up.

Lisa Mark, C.P.O. is a productivity expert and Certified Professional Organizer. Contact Lisa if you would like to find out if she is a good fit for your organizing or productivity needs.

How to Boost Income Through the Gig Economy

In today’s economy, side gigs provide a way to increase income. The trick is finding the right gig for you and your schedule. Here’s some advice from our guest blogger, Amy Collett, to help you get started.

What Is the Gig Economy?

As technology develops and changes the way we communicate, it is also drastically changing the way many people work. In the modern gig economy, companies including TaskRabbit, Uber, Rover, and Fiverr use custom apps to help skilled contract workers connect with the people who need them. These types of gig opportunities are often referred to as the “sharing economy,” the “collaborative economy,” and the “freelance economy.”

The gig economy provides the opportunity to utilize one’s skills and resources to create a career that works for you. Many people find that working freelance provides the flexibility needed to balance home and work. Gig opportunities may also provide enough money to get by while pursuing your entrepreneurial passion. The popularity of the gig economy is so vast, an estimated 57 million freelancers contribute 4 trillion dollars each year. Many people find that freelance work leads to launching a new business.

Find your Gig

Start by deciding which platform works best for you. The platform you choose is largely determined by the services you wish to provide. Sites like Upwork (link here?) are great because they connect you with potential clients looking for cost-efficient solutions for limited-run projects.

You can also drive for rideshare companies like Uber, Lyft, and Via, or work with animals by dog-walking and pet-sitting.

Tips for Gig Success

Instilling discipline and organization into your gig life will increase your odds of success. Consider doing the following:

  • Build a personal brand. Use the same design elements (fonts, images, usernames, etc.) across all platforms.
  • Differentiate your services from your competitors’ services in a way that stands out.
  • Stay organized. When you prioritize what you need to accomplish, you won’t have to scramble to do something that accidentally fell off your radar.
  • Consider using software for invoicing and expense tracking, website creation and to automate your social media posts.
  • Learn ways to de-escalate situations with difficult customers so you’re equipped to defuse any problems. With most gig platforms, your performance is rated. A high rating means more hires and a better asking wage.
  • Try to find unique ways to care for your customers that will leave a lasting impression.
  • Keep records of all work-related expenses. It’s easier to do this as you go along than to attempt to recreate your financials at the end of the year.
  • Determine whether you need a business license before you start working. Research state laws to ensure you are in compliance.  

Make Your Business Official

Once your gig turns profitable, you may decide it’s the perfect time to start your own business. Business structures vary from state to state, so be sure to check the laws in your area.

The gig economy provides an opportunity to gain income while crafting a flexible schedule. For the best experience, find a gig that appeals to your interests and skills. If it’s a good fit, you may be able to build a steady income and start a new business.

Amy Collett helps people develop their own personal brand. For more information, please visit

How Changing Your Office Layout Can Increase Productivity

By Kristie Santana

Kristie Santana is a life coach, coaching educator, and author who has been in the coaching field for 15 years. Her latest project, Life Coach Path, aims to help educate and empower students to find coach training and start thriving coaching practices of their own.

Workspace design can arguably date back to the Roman era, but we know that when the first office building of the British Empire was constructed in 1726 in London, the architect had to design meeting rooms and spaces that could hold massive amounts of paperwork. Workplaces were very much about functionality and practicality, with little thought given to the employee. 

Fast forward nearly 300 years, and the pendulum has swung the other way. Global conglomerates like Google believe the workspace emanates an ‘energy’ and must be designed meticulously to support the mental health of their employees. At their New York headquarters, every employee is within 150 feet of an indoor restaurant, cafeteria or lounge. They firmly believe in ‘collision spaces’ where employees are encouraged to chat, dine, and drum up inspiration. 

Now, you may not be able to install a full-service restaurant in your office, but making a few changes could help increase office productivity and promote mental wellness.

Light it Up

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When Hiring a Pro is Best

If you’re like most busy professionals, your office has projects that need work: piles of papers, clutter on desk surfaces, perhaps even piles of items waiting for time where you can address them. This can be at odds with what most of us want: a clutter-free, calendar-clear, easily managed task list and space.

Below are ideas to help you decide whether you need to hire a professional to help get you from where you are to where you want to be.

  • Schedule: Most of us have way more to do than time to do it. It can be challenging to carve out time to work on your space when there are so many other obligations on the calendar. How can a large project be incorporated successfully into a very full schedule? Ask yourself how much time you can devote to organizing. Is it possible to designate a day each week, or two afternoons a week, to tackling these projects?  If not, perhaps it’s time to hire a pro.
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