Clean and organized desk

9 Ways to Organize Your Desk at Work

Try these tips to be more efficient and productive

Cluttered and messy desks are a leading factor in inefficiency and lack of productivity. Too often, business professionals think organizing their workspace requires too much time. Since time is already precious, they push it to the bottom of their to-do list thinking it’s the best choice. Disorganized desks cost more time and productivity than the time it takes to get organized.

Do you work all day at a cluttered desk? Do you catch yourself referring to your desk as organized chaos? Or do arrive at work every morning and think the clutter multiplied overnight? If yes, chances are your desk impacts your ability to accomplish tasks in an efficient manner.

When it comes to organizing your desk, you might be tempted to rearrange papers and make nice and neat piles—but that’s not going to help.

Here are nine ways to organize your desk for better efficiency and productivity throughout the day:

1. Designate an inbox
Inboxes are a valuable tool that many seem to forget exist. Establishing a plastic bin or folder for your incoming papers is critical. Otherwise, team members can lay papers wherever on your desk or chair, and you risk not taking care of a task when needed.

 

Organized stack of paperwork

2. De-clutter useless objects
Sit in your chair and look at your desk. Do you have objects that add nothing to your work day? Mementos and family pictures are a great source of creative inspiration, but they can also get out of hand. Limit pictures and mementos to one to two photos and one to two special pictures or notes. Move the rest to another area of your office and off your desk.

3. Throw away trash
Sort through your existing piles and papers and shred, recycle or trash the things you don’t need. If you completed the project or haven’t touched the paper in more than three months, it needs to go.

4. Eliminate paper resources
As you sort through your piles, stack papers you use as a reference or resource to the side. The best way to organize these is to scan them and save in a resource file on your desktop then throw the hard copies away. If you are unable to say goodbye to the paper versions, hang a bulletin board on your wall and fasten the papers with push pins. This clears your desk and provides a central location for your resources.

5. Put things in their place
Does everything on the top of your desk need to be there? The answer is no. Only keep items on your desk you use every day. Keep items in your desk that you use every week. Move items that you use less frequently to a filing cabinet or storage area.

6. Create a WOR folder
Often, paper stacks up because you need a response from someone else. File these papers in a WOR, or Waiting on Response, folder. Schedule time to review the papers daily and follow up with others as needed.

7. Unsubscribe
Magazines, newsletters and junk mail accumulate quickly. Look through your current stack and pull out subscriptions you barely read. Unsubscribe from these to eliminate unwanted clutter. Schedule a time weekly to review the rest and discard once read. Most companies offer online versions of their newsletters today, so send an email to request digital versions.

8. Eliminate distractions
No matter how clean your desk is, you still won’t be efficient if you allow common distractions. Keep your cell phone tucked out of sight to avoid the temptation to check in on social media, text messages or personal email. Schedule a quiet time daily if your office allows and close your door for an hour in the morning and afternoon for uninterrupted work time.

9. Organize daily
Put everything in its proper place before you leave the office for the day. An organized desk makes it easier to start where you left off the next morning.

Don’t let clutter and mess get in your way at work. Use these tips to help kick-start a more organized and efficient work day.

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