Are you one of those people who think you’ve got it all together? You may think so, but you’re still haunted by the fact that you still cannot seem to maintain a clean desk. Check out these 5 quick ways to organize your home office desk.
Seriously, it seems so darn easy to some people, yet you find it absolutely baffling. You thought moving your desk out of the kitchen or off the dining room table was the solution. Only to find out, it wasn’t that simple!
Having a clean desk, not only will make you feel better, but it will also help you feel more focused in the morning and throughout the day. This will help you sleep better knowing you took one last review through everything before you end your day. Your to-do list will get the priority it deserves. As a benefit, you stop wasting time in the morning getting things organized. Finally, you will find that it will be easier for you to roll with the interruptions and getting back on track will be quicker.
With all that being said, you might be wondering, how do I get there? Here a few tips that I have seen work for others and hopefully they can help you with your transition to a more organized and clean office.
#1. Reduce the clutter.
It seems so obvious, and simple, but look around your desk and determine what do you really need. Are all those photos critical, calendars, books from seminars, are you hoarding the office supplies. What I have on my desk includes my laptop (two extra screens), my notebook, my SmartPhone, a pencil holder, my mousepad and my water bottle. If it’s not useful, let it go.
#2. Use the storage or drawers that you have in your desk.
It’s not necessarily going to the theory of out of sight out of mind. It’s more like, making things accessible when you need them but set aside so they don’t get in your way on a daily basis. Keep in mind that if you are right-handed, you’ll want to have those drawers for the items you need most stored in a drawer to your right.
If your drawers are full of files or stuff you haven’t referred to in the last six months, that’s another project, but let’s realize that you need that space. Think of it as the best real estate next to your desktop, location location location, it’s enormously valuable. Use it for what you need to make you more efficient.
#3. Attack the stacks.
We all have the piles of projects. These projects will eventually get worked on. However, sometimes those piles stay on your desks for weeks, if not months, because something else has taken priority. Put those not so urgent piles into a drawer to store until they become your priority. When these piles contain printouts of emails, shred them and instead focus on organizing your computer files.
You most likely are wasting time looking through those piles and ultimately ending up sorting through your computer to find the content, so why not simply leave it on your computer in the first place. If it’s other information, then create a file system that makes it easy for you to find the files.
The perception of you and your work habits are often judged by the condition or “state” of your desk. Often your desk will appear to have no semblance of order. Your peers or family may be concerned that you’re overwhelmed. That is a perception that you have control over, so put the piles away. Let people know that you are on top of it and are maintaining a balanced work life. This is not only true in the work environment, but home as well. Your family will see and admire your work ethics.
#4. Digitize those little sticky notes.
There are all kinds of ways to clean up your desk by simply removing all those notes. Not only do they clutter your notebook, computer screen, and desk, they are a continual distraction. The first thing to identify with the sticky notes is to understand why you are creating all these notes. Are they reminders? Are they ideas?
Once you determine how you are using them, you can set up digital systems that will help you eliminate the sticky note clutter. If you are noting tasks, Use a tasks program from your computer to simplify the notes. With MS Outlook, you can use the tasks program, with Google, you can use Google Keep.
Personally, I love Google Keep and it’s on my Smartphone. If the sticky notes are reminders, use the calendar or alarms on your computer and/or smartphone. This will allow you to have the sticky note with you whether you are at the office or on a work from home day.
#5. Set aside time at the end of every day to put things away.
This tip is the number one way to feel focused and fresh in the morning. Sometimes these few minutes will surprise you too as to realizing what is your priority in the morning! You will find that this extra time cleaning off your desk at the end of the day, will also help you to focus and review your next day’s work. This improvement gives your desk a healthier, more appealing aesthetic. People are realizing that minimalist environments are much preferred to look at than cluttered ones. Not only do this for yourself, but also for those who visit you in your home office.
Even as our world becomes more and more digital, multi tasking seems to be the norm, and paper management hasn’t gone away, we all need to find systems that work to keep our life in order and that starts with a clean desk. By using these tips, you will begin to be in control of what you can, your desk. And you will feel more in control being more focused and organized.
These new habits designed to create and maintain a clean desk will not necessarily happen right away. You’ll most likely need to ease yourself into these new habits. I gave you five tips, Pick one a week over the next five weeks, master it and and experience what a difference one little change can make, then move onto the next. Eventually, you will enjoy the life-enhancing benefits of a clean desk — more productivity, focus and best of all peace of mind.