Does your desk look like someone has dumped a recycling bin or two on top of it?
Do you find yourself less motivated or less productive because there just isn’t any room to spread out anymore?
I know this is a common problem for a lot of people, including myself. Fortunately, I’ve found a few simple ways to keep on top of the clutter and create a productive environment. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been approached and hear something along the lines of:
“Hey, how do you keep your desk so clean?” or “You should show me how to do that”
I’ve even heard some negative jests such as “Do you even work here?”
and one I heard just the other day…
“Are you moving soon?”
Hey, I’ve even been accused of having OCD. This diagnosis is still up in the air, but if you walked through my house, I think it’d be pretty evident right away what it is.
So here’s what you can do to clear up some of that clutter and get back to work:
Make time. The first thing you need to do is free up time to tackle this task. If you’ve neglected your workspace for a while, chances are you’re going to need more than 5 minutes to make a dent in the mess you’ve acquired over the months or years. Schedule a time slot in your calendar to be devoted to this one task, it will pay dividends in the end.
Claim desktop bankruptcy. If your desk does in fact look like someone has dumped a recycling bin on top of it, chances are it’s time to claim bankruptcy on all those notes, unfinished reports, pictures, books, stickies, and whatever else may be getting in the way. You want to create a clean slate. An empty canvas, if you will. Make that area look like you haven’t even moved in yet.
Everything has its place. Now that you have cleared out the entire space, you now also know what needs to be stored or discarded. Acquire some organization tools to help you keep everything in order. As you begin to put everything back pay attention to what you really need. For example, if you come across a stack of notes from a meeting two months ago, you can store them electronically, discard them, or put them in a file. If you are technologically literate, find ways to store most of your stuff on a drive. Don’t be afraid of the round file. Craig Jarrow, author at “Time Management Ninja” has written a great post with some more great tips on this.
Find what works for you. Give yourself a set of rules and establish parameters. Find creative and easy ways to use to-do lists, calendars and reminders. There are some great web applications to help you organize your life. You must realize that if you don’t get organized, your work will suffer and in turn your customers will suffer.
Stay on top, don’t be lazy, and put things away as you get done with them. Once you figure out that everything has a place, you can get about the business of keeping it that way by immediately returning it once you’re finished with it.
What are some things you do to remain organized in order to increase productivity? Let’s disqus it!