This month’s First Friday Favorites will be all things related to office accessories and organization. With working a full-time office job, accumulating paper and staying organized is a must! I also have a weak spot for cute office accessories but they help me keep myself on track and make it more fun to stay organized!
One of my favorite places to purchase my office accessories is Mochi Things. These are my honest opinions of these accessories that I use every day and wasn’t paid to review them or anything.
Before I jump into my favorites, I must give a little background about why I organize my office the way I do. A few years ago, I attended a conference about workplace quality improvement and how to improve our processes and work spaces to become more efficient and productive. One of the session was about Visual Controls. Essentially, visual controls are signs, displays, layouts, or storage systems – A place for everything and everything in its place. The idea behind this was that a visual control environment makes your process flow better, schedules and office items can be easily retrieved and identified by anyone. This made a lot of sense to me so I decided I would try it out with my office space and have been hooked in doing this for the last 3 years.
Up first are schedules, schedules, schedules! I have my schedule listed in 3 different places. Yep, you read that right, 3 different places. First, I have my schedule in my Outlook Calendar. My Outlook calendar is essential. It allows me to plan and schedule meetings months in advance – a great way for me to plan my schedule, but a drawback is that not everyone has permission to see my calendar or if a last minute meeting came up and I don’t always have time to put it on my calendar.
I work in a pretty small office environment. Sometimes, it’s just easier to walk down to a colleague’s office to ask a question rather than checking the calendar if they’re in. So my second schedule in my office is a weekly calendar on dry erase vinyl. Now I must admit, since moving the Colorado, I haven’t been utilizing this as much as I should…only because 80% of the time I’m in my office or in a meeting with the rest of my colleagues. In previous jobs though, when I traveled more frequently between office spaces, it worked pretty well.
I made this display using my Cricut Explore with some vinyl and dry erase vinyl. For the lettering “THIS WEEK” was cut very simply using my Cricut Explore on black vinyl. Cricut also makes dry erase vinyl that you can write on, which is what I used for the white squares. I made 5 rectangles for each day of the week and also a few more for upcoming events and notes. The idea behind this schedule is that anyone can walk into my office and will immediately see this calendar and know whether I am in a meeting or out of the office – no guessing about where I am and whether I’ll be back in the office later.
My third schedule that I keep is a weekly desk planner. This is a weekly pad that I picked up from Mochi Things. They have a variety of different weekly planners on their site, but I went with this one. Every Monday, I write down what meetings or project deadlines I have for the week. I know this one seems repetitive of my Outlook Calendar, but I find that I look at this calendar much more than my Outlook. Keeping the principles of visual control in mind, you should be able to quickly find what you’re looking for without much effort, and this desk pad accomplishes just that!
There’s a couple reasons why having this desk calendar comes in handy for me. One – sometimes I have meetings right away in the morning and I don’t have time turn on my computer and look at my schedule for the day. Instead, I can pop in my office look at this schedule, pick up a few things and be on my way. Secondly, last minute meetings and or deadlines come up all the time and I don’t always have the time to schedule it in my Outlook. I can just quickly write it down on my schedule and put it in my Outlook at a later time. I know this is extra work, but really, it takes me about 5 minutes on Monday morning to write out my schedule for the week and is super helpful throughout the week. I always find myself referring to this little guy!
Okay, I think that was enough about schedules – on to color-coding! If you read my First Friday Favorites in March, you know that I write in my notebook every day at work. I list what I need to get done that day and little notes throughout the day. A few months into my job, I realized that I was writing so much down every day and I would forget what page I wrote what on. I needed to find a solution to quickly refer me to the pages I needed. So I got some of these Weekl-it sticky posts, again from Mochi Things. They come in 8 different colors so I correlated each color with a specific category.
For example, I go into meetings and exchange contact information with others all the time and I usually will write their info down in my notebook. Whenever I write someone’s contact information down, I put a little orange sticky at the top of the page. This will signify to me that on this page I have someone’s contact information. If ever I am looking for someone’s contact information that I know I wrote down, I don’t have to look through every page, I can just look for the orange flags. I do this for recurring meetings I attend, trainings and conferences, webinars and program areas that I work in. I cannot tell you how this system has saved me countless times!
In front of my computer monitor is a desk organizer which I picked up from Mochi Things. This is where I keep all of my post-its, pens, pencils and highlighters that can be easily accessed.
The next thing in my office is having a stackable file divider sitting out on my desk. I also have a file drawer built into my desk where I keep majority of my paperwork and files. However, I keep one like this on my desk as well. Usually I put files that I use most often out so that I can refer to them at any time without having to dig through my files to find what I am looking for. These can be picked up at any office supply store, and I would recommend that you only keep one of these out, otherwise your desk will just become too overwhelmed with paper.
These are all of some of my favorite office must-haves that make office life a bit more colorful, fun, and organized!