Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Sandra Felton and Marsha Simsis book, Smart Office Organizing: Simple Strategies for Bringing Order to Your Workplace, (Revell, 2011).

The work you do in your office is an important part of fulfilling God’s purposes for your life. But if your office is messy, your work will likely be messy, too, since your environment affects your creativity and productivity.

So organize your office well to optimize the work you do for God. Here’s how:

Identify what factors are contributing to your disorganization. Become aware of what has been holding you back from organizing your office so far. Are you indecisive, easily distracted, or struggling to manage your time well? Are you dealing with stress, fatigue, or a failure to plan ahead? Have you become so familiar with the clutter around you that you don’t notice how it interrupts your work? Is your office such a mess that you become overwhelmed when thinking about organizing it, and decide to procrastinate?

Motivate yourself to get started. Dream about how your office would be if it was organized exactly the way you’d like it be. Pray for a vision of your best office, and picture all the details in your mind – how your office should be configured; what furniture, equipment, and supplies it will contain; and how you plan to use every part of the available space. Write or draw a description of what your office can be like once you’ve organized it well. Post the record of your goal where you’ll see it regularly. Then break the entire organizational job down into small steps that are easy for you to manage. Commit to yourself and at least one other person to get started.

Get rid of what’s taking up space without serving a vital purpose. Take items out of your office if you don’t truly need them there to do your work well.

Clear the surfaces of your desk and floor. Put items that are piled on our desk and floor into some large storage boxes, and clearly label the boxes according to what’s inside them.

Use vertical surfaces as well as horizontal ones. Your office may have lots of space that you haven’t considered using before: vertical surfaces such as walls, the back of your office door, and the sides of cabinets. Use them for whatever items you can, from phones and light fixtures to clocks and calendars.

Designate a specific spot of unfinished projects. Where do you put materials for projects in progress when you’re not working on them? Choose a particular place in your office, so you won’t have to search for the materials you need each time you start working again.

Handle paper wisely. Develop a system to handle the many pieces of paper that enter your office. Organize your papers into five different categories: “to do” (something requiring action), “to file” (something that needs to be stored for future reference), “for others” (something that you need to give to another person), “pending” (something that is currently in progress), and “financial” (bills and other papers that relate to money, such as tax documents). Each time you touch a piece of paper, move it forward to the next step in your system so you won’t waste time handling it more often than necessary. Label your filing containers by category, and go through each of your categories every day. Take care of the most urgent and the most important items first, and then work your way through the others. When deciding whether or not to keep a piece of paper, ask yourself: “Do I really need it?”, “Do I really want it?”, “Is it a duplicate?”, “ Is it still relevant?”, and “Will I use it again?”.