(NC) Stay productive with a neat and tidy work area that eliminates distractions, saves you time and motivates you for success. Here are some tips to get started.

1. Purge your office. Focusing on one area at a time, begin by decluttering and editing, tossing and shredding things you no longer need. Make sure operating systems and antivirus software on all your computers and mobile devices are up-to-date. A crowded workspace filled with frivolous items and out-of-date operating systems and applications will only hurt your efficiency.

2. Prioritize a good layout. Keep your monitor at eye level and about 17 inches from your body. If you have a webcam, cover your it with a sticky note or a piece of tape for added security. Put frequently used items close at hand and keep everything else in drawers or attractive storage boxes. Think streamlined and minimalist, and group items by use.

3. Sort your files. Most of your documents are probably stored on your computer, but you should still take some time to organize them as you would paper files. Regularly back up unique and important files on a secure backup device and delete temporary folders. Then choose a labelling system that makes sense to you.

4. Be selective with personal touches and reminders. Experts recommend keeping no more than three personal items for some positive inspiration without distraction. Go easy on the sticky notes as too many lose meaning and effectiveness.

5. Take inventory of your devices. Don’t just toss or hoard your old phones and desktops. Before disposing according to local recycling regulations or reselling, make sure all personal information has been backed up and then wiped. Internal hard drives can be removed from old desktop and laptop computers, but this makes them more difficult to reuse. For mobile devices, first encrypt the device or software and then run a factory reset.

6. Create work zones. Even if you have one desk, segmenting it into different work zones can help you stay on task and accomplish your goals. Have a computer workstation and some extra space where you can review reports, sign documents and write in a notebook.

7. Protect your privacy. Many of us keep personal information like bank statements in our office. Keep physical items in a separate locked drawer and ensure your computer has a good security suite that includes antivirus, anti-spyware and a firewall. This will protect sensitive company documents too. Use strong authentication tools like biometrics, security keys or unique passcodes to secure your mobile devices.

Find more information online at www.GetCyberSafe.ca.