A fun way to keep your workspace organized – PR style

Actual picture of my desk
Yes, this is an actual picture of my desk.

As a public relations professional, it’s common to deal with a million different things at once. Back-to-back meetings, conference calls, press tours, media interviews…sound familiar? If you’re anything like I was, you may have meeting notes scattered across your desk, sticky notes attached to your computer and media notes replaying in your head. Am I getting warmer?

The point is, it is our job to handle the world without stressing out about it. There are many ways to keep yourself from stressing, but I, for one, have relied on one main way to stop the madness: clean up. While this may seem like another chore to add to your to-do list, I guarantee this will help save you time and headaches in the near future. You may not even notice how much better you feel until after you’ve spruced up the place. Based on the famous four-step PR process (research, planning, implementation and evaluation), I created some fun ways to help you keep your area clean.

Research.
WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!? No, but seriously. Define your situation. Is there a reason why you keep leaving old candy wrappers in your file cabinet? Or maybe you can’t find that press release you started last week? If so, think about what’s making you so unorganized. Are you a procrastinator? Is there not a trash bin nearby? Or my favorite: is there just not enough time in the day? Well, make time. Even on your busiest days, you need time to yourself. If possible, try to include at least two 30-minute gaps in your day where you have time to work independently. That way, you can eat a snack, organize your computer files or even just catch up on some work you’ve postponed. We get so caught up in running from meeting to meeting, that we forget not every meeting is top priority. If John scheduled a meeting about what your team should order for the company breakfast next month, then that can wait. Give yourself time to breathe. And while you’re at it, make sure you get a trash can to your cubicle.

Plan.
Sit down and scan your work area. Remember: YOU are your primary audience for this project. Which sections need the most help? For me, it was my folders, press binders and snack drawer. Once you have that determined, map out those sections. What would be easiest for you? For example, I like salted peanuts more than I like dried fruit. So I placed my peanuts at the front of my snack drawer and my dried fruit at the back; that way, I could always get to the peanuts first. (This may seem silly, but you get my point.) I’ll be more serious though. Currently, I keep my “General Information” folder in front of my “Meeting Notes” folder because I found myself needing general information more often than my notes. General information includes Wi-Fi codes, IT contacts, company values and most importantly, how to use my Cisco® equipment. Filing your items by how often you use them is a great way to keep yourself organized.

*Note: Don’t forget to make room for your office supplies: pens, staplers, tape, highlighters, etc.

Implementation.
Time to take action! Your main goal is to stay organized. So let’s work from there.

  • GOAL – Stay organized.
    • Output objective – To reduce the number of your sticky notes by 20% within the next four months.
      • Strategy – Pursue other methods of maintaining your to-do lists.
        • Tactic – Get a planner.
        • Tactic – Use an electronic calendar (such as the one on your Microsoft Outlook program).
    • Outcome objective – To engage 10 people at your desk by this July.
      • Strategy – Collaborate with other employees who have clean desks.
        • Tactic – Send an email to your employees, stating that they MUST come to your desk to look over your infographic.
        • Tactic – Host an after-work dinner and discuss how awesome you’ve been since you cleaned your desk.

I hope you all enjoyed that.

Evaluation.
Now, let’s try it out! Test your new techniques for a week and see what you like. Think about the pros and the cons. Discover what works best for you and maintain, rearrange and/or design as you please. Then, repeat this process again until you’re satisfied.

You’re welcome.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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