You may not realise it but a cluttered working space can really affect the way you work and impact on your output. That's because consciously or subconsciously the things in and around your desk are competing with your mind for your attention. What's more if your desk looks disorganised it may also give off the impression that you are disorganised.
Here's a few suggestions on how to tame your work space:
Clear out your whole desk. I'm a firm believer in starting with a blank canvas. It's so much easier to organise when you are starting with less. Start by removing everything - and I mean everything from your desk and give it a good clean. Next pick the most important items that you need to have on top of the desk. Think: laptop, mouse, lamp, in-tray. Basically, this is anything that you need do 80% of your work. Work out what you need. Now to focus on the drawers and other areas. Most people have all sorts of items squirreled away in their desks. Photographs, thank-you cards, bits of equipment needed for a special project, paperwork from an event last year. Ask yourself: did you remember it was there? Would you choose to have this in your desk? Does it have a purpose? If the answer is no, then these items can probably be discarded or stored elsewhere.
Remember: an uncluttered spaced, helps with focus, so the less you have in your drawers the better. Decide where to keep it. Use the rule of proximity here. If you use the item all day everyday then chances are you’ll need to keep it close by on your desk top. Once or twice a day, store in the top drawer. Work down the drawers like this so that the items you use least are stored furthest away. Do you need more/better storage? There’s nothing more annoying than reaching for a folder and finding that everything balanced on or around it falls over in a heap as soon as you remove it. Take some time to work out if you have the right storage solutions in place. Do you need some folders or shelves or a filing cabinet? It is worth spending a little bit of time and money to get the right storage sorted. The easier it is to access what you need, the more chance you have of actually getting the job done. You’ll thank yourself for it in the long run. Give everything a proper home when not in use. The key to keeping anything tidy and organised is to give everything a proper home. That way you’ll always know where to find something and where to return it to. Tidy up at the end of the day. Spend the last 5 minutes of the working day tidying up and putting things back. It is so much nicer to come into a clean and clear desk the next morning and you may be surprised at how much more focussed you feel!
About this Author
Helen Cousins is a professional Home Organiser and Declutter Consultant based in Winchester, Hampshire. Helen helps people who feel that the lack of organisation or sheer amount of clutter in their homes is causing stress, frustration and getting in the way of how they want to live their lives. By putting in place simple to manage organisational systems, the client finds clarity and freedom to start focussing on the other aspects of their lives.