Cleanliness = Productivity
Despite the excuses that some will give, piles are not “organized”. A messy workspace isn’t conducive to being productive. Fact is, when inspiration or motivation hits, you don’t want to be searching for space to set down your important work or fighting back the flood of stuff on your desk.
If your desk is a mess and you notice you return to a cluttered workspace everyday, here are 10 tips to keep your desk clear of clutter and ready for productive work!
- Designate a REAL Inbox – We all have too many email inboxes, yet many people no longer have a physical one on their desk. You need one place for incoming papers to reside. Otherwise, they will scatter all over the existing documents on your desk and important documents can get lost.
- Trash Can Should Be Within Reach – If you have to get up from your desk to reach the trash, then it is too far away. Make sure that you can easily and quickly reach the trash from your chair to rid of unimportant files.
- Minimize Incoming Paper – Stop that incoming paper flood or at least minimize it as much as possible. Eliminate unnecessary subscriptions; reduce the number of paper reports and memos. If you don’t need something in hard copy, then stop it from coming to your desk – don’t just continually toss it.
- Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter – Do you need all those knickknacks and office accessories lying all over your desk? Unless they serve a purpose, get them off your work surface. You don’t have to go to the extreme of creating a sterile workspace, but if it has no purpose or personal value, move it off your desk. Nobody truly needs conference passes or SWAG items unless they are useful.
- Schedule Regular Cleaning Time – If you have not cleaned your desk in a month, it could take you a few hours to tidy it up. However, if you do it daily, it should only take a few moments. Avoid compounding your organizing time by scheduling a designated time each day. Perhaps stopping your workday 5-10 minutes before you must leave will get you out the door on time and organized for the next day.
- Never Put Trash Down – Whether it is a piece of paper or a food wrapper, never set trash down. Get in the habit of holding it in your hand until you can reach your trashcan. You do not want to put trash on your desk and forget about it. Any liquid beverage too is an accident waiting to ruin your keyboard or important files.
- Take a Picture To Remember – Do you have items on your desk that are simply for reference? A battery or ink cartridge that you need to replace? Instead of leaving these items on your desk, take a picture with your smartphone. You will be more likely to have your phone with you when you need to reference the item at the store.
- When in Doubt, Throw It Out – You will never need 99% of the papers that you are saving. When in doubt, throw it out. If you truly need a hard copy, make sure you have a filing system to put it where you will know where to locate it.
- Scan It– Is the price of a scanner worth the peace and organization it will bring? Yes! Clear that paper clutter, by scanning it into soft copy or PDF. Then back up your PC regularly to be sure it remains in safekeeping.
- Clean It Before You Leave It – If your boss were to come to your desk after you departed for the day, would you be proud of what he or she would see? One of the best times to clean your desk is the end of the day. It brings closure to your workday and sets you up for a clean start tomorrow.
An organized work area helps you get more done. It starts by giving you space to actually work, instead of stacking new work on top of old papers. Keep your desk clean and improve your productivity.