It’s New Year’s Resolution time, and you know what that means: cleaning, organizing, and just generally getting in shape for the new year. If your New Year’s Resolution is to clean out your office, avoid these common mistakes!
1. Starting without a plan
If you’ve ever tackled a big organizational project, you know that having the overarching goal of “organizing” is a little too nebulous to actually count as a plan. Before you tackle organizing and cleaning out your home or work office this year, sit down and make several smaller goals for yourself. For example, you may want to reorganize your filing system or create a new priority structure for your inbox… or both! Making smaller, manageable goals with tangible outcomes will make the entire process of organizing your office go more smoothly.
2. Stopping halfway through
We’ve all been there – you start a big project and get just about halfway through before you get sidetracked and eventually convince yourself that halfway was as far as you wanted to get from the beginning. Don’t fall for this trap! For one thing, it just means you’ll have more to do next year. For another, stopping your organizational project halfway through may mean you are leaving sensitive information vulnerable to misuse.
3. Forgetting electronic organization
The piles of papers and old files are easy to see, but don’t forget to take time while you are organizing to sort through your electronic files, free up space on your hard drive, and make a backup of last year’s data.
4. Getting a little too shred-happy
It’s tempting when confronted with a year or even several year’s worth of old paper to just get rid of everything. But wait! Before you start making assumptions about what sorts of paper are in which pile or file, do yourself a favor and really sort through them. Once paper is shredded, you can’t get it back.
5. Not shredding enough
Of course, there’s the other side of being shred-happy: not shredding enough. Sure, maybe the stray pieces of paper tucked into a pile of old office supply flyers is harmless enough, but what if it isn’t? Whether you are cleaning out your home office or your work files, make sure you are diligent about searching out and shredding confidential information that you no longer need to keep. If you’re not sure, remember: when in doubt, shred!