How much time do you spend at your desk? If you’re like me it’s many hours per day and if you’re also like me (!), you’ll understand it when I say that I work better and faster and have a more coherent thought process when my desk is tidy. It’s true! I find that my focus is less sharp when my desk is piled high with papers and folders, post-its and notes written on scrap paper of all shapes and sizes.
Do you have a tidy desk? Regardless of whether you are consistently tidy, an occasional “neat freak,” or close the door to your office so that people don’t see the mess, here are some top tips on how you can improve the tidiness of your desk:
Create a system that works for YOU
It’s a mistake to think that you have to develop a system that is exactly like someone else with the understanding that everyone has their own method of working and what works for one person can cause massive confusion for another. The key take-away here is to have a “system” of where you put things, how you access them, what is on your desk and what is put into the drawers. File folders, in and out trays, and see-through 8×10 envelopes can help you to organize your work so that you won’t have to waste extra time trying to locate something.
Remove things from your desk that you don’t frequently use
Office supplies can be put into a desk drawer and while still convenient and handy, they don’t have to take up prime space on the top of your desk. Your stapler and staples, binder clips, extra post-it cubes and other such items can be placed in a desk drawer where they are ready and available for when they are needed. Just be certain to know where you put them!
Keep your knick-knacks to a minimum
Pictures and knick-knacks serve to make your desk and work environment feel “homey” but in some cases, they can truly take over your work surface. If you have many things that you want to display, consider rotating them so that they don’t make it difficult for you to locate important papers and files on your desk.
There are many desks to choose from these days so review your options carefully. Standing desks, adjustable desks, desks with drawers and desks with nothing but 4 legs are there for the choosing. It’s often easier to keep things neat if the desk suits your personal style of work.
The problem is that once things get out of control, it often stays that way until you allocate the time to clean things up. If you find that the entire situation is overwhelming there are organizers that can help you make sense of the mess but of course it is entirely up to you to maintain the system that has been put into place.