On average, you'll spend around 10.3 years of your life pursuing your professional calling. While there are steps that you can take to improve your work experience, it's worth noting that organization can be enough to demolish a great deal of the stress we deal with each day. Detoxing and decluttering your practice not only makes your service more efficient and productive for clients and patients — it can also improve the way you work, and make you happier. After all, the more you collect, the more time you'll waste on different matters competing for your attention. What's more, a cluttered workstation is bound to have an impact on your professionalism. Following are some steps on how to effectively detox clutter in your practice.
1. Start Fresh
This probably isn't the first time that you've noticed your office clutter getting a little out of hand. After all, the nature of many practices means that new documentation and files appear every day, and keeping on top of this constant stream of data can be somewhat overwhelming. If clearing away the clutter little by little hasn't worked, then you might be better off starting from scratch. What this means is addressing all of the data you have on your desk or in your filing cabinets, and determining exactly what you need before adding anything new to the pile.
2. Break Down Those Paper Stacks
Managing a filing system is something that many people forget about when attempting to run a successful practice. The truth is that we often stuff documents into their correct section, close the drawer, and then forget about them until we can't fit any more pieces of paper in there. Of course, once the filing cabinets are full, then we end up with piles of un-organized paper stacks sitting in locations around the office. Starting at the back of each of your drawers, pull out a chunk of paper and start sorting through them. Any pieces that can be disposed of, place in one pile, and any pieces that must stay, place in another. When deciding what to toss, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this information necessary — or irreplaceable?
- Are there any consequences for destroying/removing it?
- Does it support your community, practice, or clients in any way?
3. Make the Transition to Digital
Now that you've determined which paperwork is essential, and which isn't, you can start to think about the best opportunities for storing it - or at least storing particular parts. Today, many people are moving towards a paperless practice, and electronic files can be much easier to find, organize, and backup, without taking up unnecessary space in your back rooms of offices. Usually, it's a good idea to keep a digital and paper version of the documents that are of significant value, or impossible to replace, but other files could potentially be stored and backed-up on a computer to help you save space. The more you dispose of paper clutter, the more your main worry will be taming the selection of cables that run around your office with management systems and creative display options.
4. Find Creative Solutions
Viewing your practice from an objective perspective can be difficult, but if you take a few photographs of the space and then review them later, you might be surprised at how problem areas pop out for you in a way that the real world doesn't always allow. Once you've found these trouble spots, try coming up with creative ways to manage them. For example, if traditional shelves don't work for you, try out some hidden storage space, use magnets, or pegboard to hide routers and cables. At the same time, make sure that the right files and documents are delivered to the right people. Don’t hold onto items simply because you think you should - determine which members of staff will benefit most from what you have and ensure everything has its proper place.
Clearing off crowded surfaces and managing file drawers is a fantastic way to boost office productivity, and make your practice more efficient. The fewer documents and files you have to search through, the more time you'll have to help patients - instead of rummaging through the clutter. Since the average office loses one in every twenty documents, organization could save you up to twenty-five hours of labor every time a file goes missing.
No matter how clean you attempt to keep your workspace, remember that it's likely to get messy during the day - so ensure you straighten things up every evening before leaving the practice. Ten minutes of extra work could be enough to ensure you arrive to a clean office space every morning.