Yes, you should definitely take this as a sign that I am speaking directly to you. Don’t you just hate coming into work on a Monday morning and literally having to dig through all of the papers on your desk to find the keyboard? A messy desk is a true and tested way to halt productivity and creativity in their tracks.
On a psychological level, clutter on your office desk even makes you feel unorganised, just like putting on a suit tends to make you act more professional.
So please read on for some expert tips and tricks on how to get your desk more organised.
Get an inbox and a sent box
Not for emails, although I will get to them in a moment. Instead of putting all of the incoming papers just anywhere on your desk, and ending up with a mountain of loose documents; take inspiration from your computer and invest in a box that you can store your ‘incoming’ and ‘working on’ papers in. If you want to be extra nifty, you can even get a ‘Sent’ box and put all completed papers in there, ready to be stored in a proper filing system.
Use a proper filing system
You guessed it! Every week aim to file away the important papers from your Sent box. If there is doubt whether you should keep or toss – either scan it and store it on your computer (in a folder please) or just get rid of it, as 99% of the time when you are in doubt, your subconscious knows you won’t ever need it again.
One thing that bugs me is when people have too many trinkets on their desk. Leave the photo of your son next to Mickey Mouse where it belongs – at home. Sure, you need a stapler, a hole-puncher and a calculator etc and it is nice when these are nice looking ones, however if it isn’t useful, it shouldn’t be there.
Clean and tidy
Your desk needs to be both clean (of germs) and tidy (of clutter). Make it a regular ‘to do’ item at the end of each day to sweep round and tidy your desk, so you feel good arriving at work the next day to a clean space. Don’t forget to clean your desk with antibacterial wipes or spray each Friday night before the weekend to keep those germs at bay.
Organise your emails
Now this might take some time if you have not deleted any emails, ever. Most of us never think to delete items from our inbox and sent box; mainly just the Junk mail. All of these emails, many of which will never see the light of day again, especially those from 2002, need to be waded through and sorted out. Start from the beginning of (the computers’) time and allocate a good twenty minutes to do a deleting session. The older they are the more likely you will be able to discard of them and have a faster running computer afterwards.
De-clutter the desktop
It is so easy to save file after file to your desktop, thinking ‘I’ll be able to access this easily next time’ until you have so many unorganised documents scattered over the entire desktop and you can’t even see the pretty desktop image behind. Get used to filing them straight to your ‘Documents’ folder – it might take an extra 60 seconds, but that’s instead of the 30 minutes it will take you to wade through and sort out a whole unorganised desktop.