Organizing Your Desk

Have a desk that is completely cluttered that makes you feel overwhelmed at the mere sight of it? Try these tips to help organize your own desk.

Ever look around at your desk area and realize you have no idea where everything is situated? Or maybe you have a vague sense that the middle pile of papers contains important client information, the left pile of papers contains bills and the right pile of papers contains miscellaneous items ranging from the oil change coupon to your latest issue of Forbes magazine. If you have ever scrounged around for a file or piece of paper and could not find it right away or if your daily to-do list is scribbled on a paper napkin upon which you have placed your coffee cup, then you may need some help in organizing your desk. Read on.

Before completely tackling your desk, like an artist, you will want to start with a clean slate. Take every single thing off of your desk, including your computer, all papers, all supplies and any decorative items. If you have never cleaned your desk area before, don't be alarmed when you see dust bunnies the size of actual bunnies. Use cleaning products to clean all of your surfaces, so that you are not simply rearranging your desk over a thick layer of dust. Trust me when I say that you will actually WANT to get to work after using a desk that is sparkling and efficient.

Create piles of paperwork and items according to their uses. You will also want to create a pile that will be trashed. You may think you have nothing on your desk that should be thrown away, but you probably have some old coupons, old illegible notes, and project papers that you have not used in months or years. If you have been holding onto some paperwork that you thought you might eventually need and it has been years since you last saw it, that might be a prime candidate for the trash pile. Try not to get too sentimental about these items. If they are unused and not worth much, they should be tossed out.



When you have your pile of papers all accounted for, and if you have not done so already, invest in a filing cabinet and some file folders. If you are combining both your personal home and work files in one cabinet, separate the two completely. In other words, use one drawer for business and one for personal business. Go through all of your paperwork and decide what different file folders need to be created. For example, if you work in a business where you have multiple clients, make a file folder for each client. If you work in a business where you juggle several different projects, make file folders for each project. You may even need subfolders within each file folder, if you have an especially big project with multiple parts. Make all current projects and data easier to access than, say, older closed projects.

All offices should have a pending business tray. Anytime there is something that needs to get done and that is on the front burner, put it in your pending business tray. If you have a home office, you may want to invest in two trays, one for business and one for personal use. This should be the only paperwork that you currently have on your desk. All other paperwork should be filed away.

Instead of resorting to scraps of paper for your to-do lists, invest in a sturdy notepad to maintain your daily activity log. Keep this in a special place on your desk that is easily accessible on a day-to-day basis.

Instead of having all of your supplies on your desk, like your stapler, pens, pencils and tape, keep them in a drawer at your desk and take them out only when you need them. This will keep your desk from looking cluttered.

Maintain a space on your desk that is completely clear of any items. This will be the area where you can write or work on paperwork. Only after all of your desk has been cleared out and all of your paperwork filed can you start putting your decorative items back on your desk.

Cleaning your desk may take time out of your day, but it is completely worth it. You will feel more energized while at your desk now that you don't have piles of paperwork to bog you down. A clean and organized desk will make you more efficient and productive, so get to cleaning.

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