It’s a new year – do you take the time to keep your computer organized, but your actual desk is all over the place?

Do you see piles of papers, post-it notes, loose pens, and coffee mugs scattered around your desk? If so, it’s time to do some cleanup and incorporate better habits moving forward.

And no, it won’t take you a lot of time. Now grab a cup of coffee, and let’s tackle it.

To follow are some suggestions to get you started:
Create a Blank Slate
First, take everything off of your desk. By doing this, you will have a blank slate to start. If you have a desktop phone, place this on the desk first. Based on whether you’re left or right-handed, or, whatever’s comfortable for you, will dictate if it goes on the left or right side.

If you have framed photos or other bulky items, place those on a shelf or hang them on the wall.

Post-Its Are Great, But Shouldn’t Be Front and Center.

Do you use post-it notes minimally (i.e., for that quick reminder), or is your monitor covered in a ton of messages that are either old or don’t do anything to help? If they’re relevant, take that information and enter it into a task sheet or file for future reference. Or better yet, toss if it’s no longer needed.

Files, Not Piles

Files should be just that, folders that are “filed’ in the appropriate place, not piled on your desk or at your feet on the floor. For files you need to visit regularly can be placed in a vertical inbox rack or file holder. They make some lightweight file holders that you can hang on your wall. This best practice will keep them in sight but off your desk.

A suggestion for filing is to do it in three categories:
  • Items to review
  • Items pending or on hold
  • Items you need daily over the short term

If they don’t fit into one of the above three, they either need to be filed permanently or tossed.

Keep Blank File Folders Close to Your Desk

Many are guilty of neglecting to file because they don’t have folders and labels within reach. To make it even simpler, buy a label maker, and when you need to create a file, it’s easy to create and file as required—no more excuses.

Monthly Calendar

The majority of us have gone digital, which is excellent; however, many still like the visual of a calendar that sits on your desk to allow you to keep important events at a glance quickly.

Office Supplies

Dedicate a drawer for just office supplies. We all have a “junk” drawer at home, but it’s unnecessary at the office (home or outside space) and can be distracting. Buy a cutlery tray and place it in the drawer. The sections will allow you to neatly store items such as pens, paper clips, and other essential items. Refrain from letting that drawer build up with the junk, branded cups, etc.

Lunchtime Location

It may be easier to eat at your desk, but there are several reasons why this isn’t a good idea.

  1. Food can build up in your keyboard or on your desk. After a while, it’s not a pretty sight.
  2. Utensils end up in drawers that should be dedicated to business.
  3. It’s healthier to take a break and step away from your computer. If you work from home, eat at the table. In a formal office, go to the breakroom or in a space others eat. Or, better yet, dine outside on a nice day.
Digital Files

Your computer desktop should be as neat as your physical desktop. Set up a system that works for you. If you simply don’t have the time to organize your filing system, ask for help. A good virtual services company can help you get organized and allow you to focus on your core business.

Cleanup at the End of EACH DAY
Now that your desk is clean and organized let’s keep it that way. When finished for the day, do a quick once-over of your desk and do the following:
  • Throw away any trash
  • File any loose papers
  • Wipe it down if needed
You’re now ready for a fresh start the next day! That was easy now, wasn’t it?
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