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Your office reflects a lot about you. Not just how messy or organized you are, but how professional you are. It sets your mood for your workday and tells your boss a great deal about you. If you feel like your office or cubicle has gotten out of control, if you dread going there in the morning or if you try to keep the door closed so that no one can see the mess, follow these steps to a more organized workspace.

Step One – Take a look around.

Stand in the door to your office/cubicle and take a good long look. What do you see? If your answer is piles of folders and loose papers, lots of personal mementos and photos, a full in box and stuff on the floor – let’s get to work!

Dress your office/cubicle professionally. Have just a few, framed photos. There should be nothing taped to your computer or your walls. Cute figurines, bowls of candy and kitten posters should go. Frame any certificates of achievement or awards you have received.

Step Two – Pick up those piles.

Sort through piled up materials and make sure you throw away more than you keep. Create a meaningful file system using clear, simple categories. Consider the lifecycle of your documents: Active, inactive, archival, recycle.

Clean your files regularly. Paper files should be cleaned out once a year, computer files once every six months.

If you absolutely need to keep files on your desk, don’t lay them down. Buy a file organizer that will allow you to stand your files up. This is neater than a pile and will allow you to find things much more easily.

Step Three – Purchase a good daily planner and use it.

OK – so your office looks good. It’s very clean and professional looking. Your boss comes in for a meeting and you pull out your organizer. You open it up and out falls a month’s worth of ATM receipts, several cards for doctor appointments, stamps and Kleenex. Not good.

Find a planner that works for you. It should be simple and portable. Have just one for both personal and professional appointments. Don’t let it become a traveling trashcan.

There’s no need to invest a ton of money in an enormous planner. You don’t need a page for every single day. A weekly calendar should do. Keep at To Do list. When a task is done, cross it out. Anything not done moves on to the next day.

Have an area for note keeping and write in it. No more scribbling on envelopes, post its or whatever is handy. Write in your planner and you’ll never lose an important number again.

Get some features to keep your planner organized. Plastic pages for business cards, photos, floppy disks and an all purpose zipper compartment for tiny items like stamps let you have items handy without having them land in your lap.

Commune with your planner for 10 minutes when you get to the office and again at the end of the day – it will keep you focused.

Step Four – Prioritize, don’t procrastinate!

Do Something – Just do it! Don’t let job overload freeze you up.

Do the easiest thing on your list first.

Break large projects into smaller pieces.

Delegate some of the pieces.

Set deadlines for yourself.

Avoid perfectionism.

Use technology to help you.