I sit back for a moment and look around my desk. It’s covered in paperwork, files, pens, business cards, industry trades and several remnants of my lunch – consumed (once again) at my desk. I know where everything is. But why does it look so unorganized? Is this what they call creative clutter or am I just plain messy?
In speaking with friends and colleagues, I realize there really are common elements that make for a more productive, organized workspace:
- Think green. Before you hit “Print” on that email or document, ask yourself, “Do I really need to print this? Or will it just lie in a pile on my desk and collect dust?” If you do have to print it – use recycled paper.
- Stay organized. For the paperwork you do need to action/review frequently – create a filing system on your desk. In our office we prefer stackable letter trays for certain action items and desk sorters for others. Keep blank file folders nearby so you never have an excuse not to file something properly. Remember, if you use something daily – it should be closer to you than the items you use less frequently.
- Avoid Post-its. Prevent those sticky notes from getting buried on your monitor, desk and wall. Try using your email calendar or mobile phone to store important notes. If you’re like me and can’t quite give up the paper and pen – try using a spiral notebook instead. This keeps all of your important notes in one place.
- Throw out all those extra pens. Keep only 3 or 4. General rule – if it’s leaking, chewed or missing a cap – it’s time to go!
- Keep personal items to a minimum. Pictures of or personal tokens from family and friends help keep us motivated and remind us of what’s important. However, any more than 3 items becomes a distraction.
- Eat away from your desk. This one is tough for me. I can’t remember the last time I ate lunch at an actual table! When we eat at our desk it encourages trash to collect. An empty cup. A take out bag. Extra utensils. Salt & pepper packets. More napkins than you could use in a lifetime. Prevent the trash (and crumbs) by eating away from your desk (and preferably out of the office). We all need a daily break from work to keep us at our best!
- Keep phone and computer cords to a minimum – Go Wireless. Move freely by investing in a stylish wireless mouse and bluetooth headset. You can even upgrade to a wireless pen tablet.
- Keep electronics off your desk. Even if you have the room, items like printers, routers, batteries, etc take up space and just add to the clutter. Move them to another piece of furniture or the floor (if appropriate)
- Cleaning supplies. By keeping cleaning supplies nearby, you’ll be encouraged to wipe down your surface more often.
Well, I know my marching orders tomorrow: take an actual lunch break, spending 30 minutes outside (away from my desk eating lunch) and the other 30 minutes inside (at my desk) getting organized! Cheers to a more productive week ahead!
Jess Bedford for Artisan Creative