Are you one of these people who dread to sit at their desk because they know they’re going to waste time finding what they need amongst piles of paper? Or who can’t even sit at their desk because the top is too cluttered to do any work? Or who struggle to focus on their work because they feel distracted or even stressed by the clutter around them? Well if it can reassure you, you’re far from being alone! But if you’re ready to reclaim and organise your desk so you can really get some work done, read on…
Start by purging your desk. Get rid of the trash and of whatever is broken. Gather all the papers into a neat pile (dealing with paper is an exercise in itself). Put the various office supplies into categories e.g. pens, highlighters, staplers, cartridges, folders, paper etc. Once it’s empty, give it a good clean.
Your desk top is a WORKING space, not a storage space. Keep on it the essentials i.e. your computer, your phone, their respective cables, a pencil holder, a notepad and your active files. Put your phone on your left if you’re right-handed so that you can easily take notes while on the phone. Move your printer to a side table or cabinet, but not too far so that you don’t have to get up to collect your printouts.
Keep inside your desk drawers the items you need to accomplish the activities you perform at your desk. For example, if you pay your bills there, have envelopes, stamps, chequebook and bank OTP devices in one same drawer.
Less often used office supplies and equipment such as cartridges and extra stationery can be placed further away from your desk in bookshelves, drawers or cabinets. Remember you only need a couple of pens and pencils, one sharpener, one ruler, one pair of scissors etc. on your desk. The rest can be stored away in a container, box or basket.
File, don’t pile. Piles of paper attract more paper and result in clutter. It also makes it very difficult to find a document. So keep your papers upright in manila folders and magazine holders for example.
Invest in drawer organisers to keep loose items together. You can buy proper desk drawer organisers or make do with old plastic food containers or boxes. Just don’t keep the lid on to avoid wasting time removing and putting back the lid.
To avoid cables to get tangled, use a rain-gutter or a cable management station. Label the cables to easily identify which device they belong to. Use bread clips and write the name of the device on it.
Not much storage space? Add wall-mounted shelves above your desk or a rolling filing cabinet or chest of drawer underneath your desk.
Limit personal items. Even though you want to make your space conducive, too many personal items create clutter and can be very distracting and make you lose focus.
Spend 5 minutes at the end of each day to clear your desk and return things where they belong. Starting the day at a bare desk will make you feel energised. It’ll also keep you motivated to keep your desk clutter-free. Make sure to have a waste basket by the side of your desk so that you can throw things right away.
Lacking the motivation to organise your desk? Think about the benefits, not the task.
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. A.A. Milne
You might find in your desk cheques and vouchers that haven’t been banked in or redeemed on time, or bills for which you had to incur late payment fees. For some of the people I’ve helped, it amounted to several hundred dollars… How much could it be for you?
If you want to organise your desk but feel intimidated or paralyzed, my in person kickstart session is for you! You’ll have me by your side, for 3 hours, not only to transfer organising skills, but also to fight off distractions and feelings of indecision and get your momentum going.
Get organised and make room for life!
This post was first published on Connected Women.