A cluttered workspace can create mental stress without you even realizing it, so finding ways to create an organized workspace for yourself will go a long way towards helping you work more efficiently and reduce unnecessary stress.

But in your day to day life, keeping an organized workspace probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list. You’ve got meetings to attend, clients to cater to, assignments to get done, budgets to manage, and mealtime has to fit in there somewhere too, right?

Most people don’t intend on having a cluttered, messy workspace but it inevitably happens once you let a couple of days go by without tidying up. That’s where these 5 simple and doable tips for keeping an organized workspace come in handy. Not only do they take hardly any time to do each day, but they may even help you manage your schedule a bit better and be more organized all the way around!

1. File First

One of the best ways to keep an organized workspace is to establish a daily habit to file away any important papers that make their way onto your desk and don’t need immediate attention. This not only keeps them organized and out of the way in a spot you know you’ll be able to find them, but it also prevents them from getting drinks spilled on them and food stains on them if you happen to eat at your desk.

Color files and small filing systems are also available if want even more organization and you don’t have a lot of storage space for files. Once files and notes are completed and you’re done with them, don’t leave them lying around unless you absolutely have to keep them. Shred them through a paper shredder or recycle them if they don’t contain important information.

If you’re afraid you’ll forget about specific files in the middle of the day, be sure to keep a folder in your filing cabinet or drawer that says VIP meaning those are the files you should check daily that need first and foremost attention. If you check the folder each day, you’ll easily never forget about those very important things first!

2. Invest In a Few Gadgets

To keep a workspace properly organized, you’re also going to need some proper tools. Visit your local dollar store or superstore and buy yourself some nice office gadgets such as drawer organizers, pen holders, sticky pads, labels, etc. if your workplace doesn’t supply them.

A container to hold your mail in is also helpful as is a container for any odds and ends you might have lying around. You can even keep your snack drawer or personal drawer more organized so they aren’t just jumbled up in a drawer. Creating contained areas for all of your work tools and personal things goes a long way towards creating a more organized workspace and making you feel less cluttered.

3. Use Online Resources When Possible

The days of writing physical notes everywhere are almost gone it seems, but this can work towards your benefit in helping you keep a more organized workspace.

Create sticky notes on your desktop and use your Google calendar for most of your scheduling. Another great idea is to implement virtual scheduling systems for yourself, your co-workers, or your employees.

CoSchedule is a great personal schedule manager and Zip Schedules is a wonderful resource for companies looking to manage scheduling tasks much easier with less paperwork and less hassle in the meantime.

4. Take a 5 at 5

Take 5 at 5 means to take 5 minutes to tidy up at the end of your workday which is 5 p.m. for most people working in a standard 9-5 job, but you can use whatever time you end your day with to benefit from this concept.

Take 5 at 5 involves straightening, filing away, and organizing any last minute items and files that somehow didn’t get put up earlier during the last 5 minutes of your day.

You know what happens. You’re working along just fine, staying on top of your tasks, and then your boss calls you into their office to discuss ideas mid-assignment, you get busy with a client and then caught up on a phone call, or a deal comes through last minute that you have to process and work through.

Whatever the case for the reason you have items lying around at the end of the day, making it a practice to take 5 at 5 will help you keep an organized workspace much more easily.

Throw away any trash, file any last minute files, and write down any must-do things you should tackle in the morning on a note, then place that on your keyboard so you’ll see it first thing. When you come in the next day, you’ll walk into a clean and tidy workspace ready for a new day!

5. Get More Creative Ideas Online

Finally, if you’re looking for more creative ways to keep an organized workspace, take advantage of work blogs and Pinterest. Two great options are Career Girl Daily and HGTV’s blog, believe it or not. Search Pinterest for Workspace Ideas or Work Organization and find other ideas that suit your personal style for organizing your workspace more efficiently and in a manner that suits you best.

For more helpful ways to stay organized and productive during the day, be sure you also take a look at these 10 habits of highly successful and productive individuals!