The New Year is the perfect time to organize your office and declutter your life. You can do it!

Share story

Happy Monday! Jan. 13 is “National Clean Off Your Desk Day,” and January is “Get Organized Month” — so what better time than now to start 2014 right by spending a little time getting yourself and your desk organized?

Getting organized could actually help your career. MARC Research conducted a study for Office Depot to determine how diligent business professionals are about keeping their workspace clutter-free. Here’s what the survey found:

• Nearly one-third (30 percent) of respondents reported having lost an important document because of a messy desk.

• Disorganization commonly leads to lost time (47 percent), meeting tardiness (16 percent) and missed deadlines (14 percent).

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

• The items cited as the most likely to cause workspace clutter were food (32 percent), old newspapers (32 percent), coffee cups (31 percent) and spare shoes (12 percent).

If those statistics aren’t enough to motivate you to clean up your desk (and your entire office), then check out this statistic: Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents agree that if someone’s workspace is clean and organized, it means they’re on top of things and working hard. So if you want to project a positive image at work, do your best to keep your desk and office organized.

I know … you’re probably looking around your office at the clutter and wondering where to start.

“Every business professional knows being organized pays dividends, from increased productivity to the satisfaction of being able to actually see past the piles on your desk,” says Laura Leist, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). “The biggest challenge is knowing where and how to start as well as finding the motivation to do so.”

Try getting organized with these tips for office organization from NAPO:

Manage your time. Use some sort of planner to track appointments and tasks and break larger projects into smaller tasks that can be included in your planner.

Tame your desk. Don’t keep any supplies on your desk except the ones you use every day. Create a streamlined paper-flow process for incoming documents and use your inbox only for items you haven’t yet reviewed.

Supercharge your communication. Write an agenda with goals and objectives before each meeting you hold or call you make; keep a record of the follow-up calls you’ll need to make; and be clear about the response or actions you need completed when working with colleagues.

Conquer your filing. Create an electronic filing system that mirrors your hard-copy system. Keep a master list of all your filenames to avoid creating a duplicate file.

The New Year is the perfect time to organize your office and declutter your life. You can do it!

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at