Seeing how most of us spend more time at our office desks then we do in our own homes, it’s surprising that we tend to neglect our work spaces. In the flurry of activity that is your daily work life, it’s easy to forget to take care of your surroundings or to even find time to stay on top of everything.
If the clutter around your desk is distracting you and keeping you from being the creative genius that you are, then here are a few hacks to help you clear up the mess and embrace the productivity.
It helps to divide your desk into zones. Assign folders and drawers for certain things, like one folder for the things you need to read, another for the things that need to be accomplished immediately, one for things that are pending or in process, and another for things that are done. Apart from giving you a sense of accomplishment and conquering that mountain of papers, you get to go about your day in a more organized manner.
Much like with your closet, the same rule applies: If you haven’t used or touched it in more than two months, you don’t need it. Toss it into the trash bin, and stop dwelling over the guilt. And yes, this also applies to that poor desk plant that’s been dead for the last six months.
If you’re one of those people who gets a kick out of going shopping for stationary supplies, this is right up your alley. Treat yourself to desk, pen, and paper organizers. It will give your desk a fresh look and will make it feel like a brand new start.
This one is simple: for every new thing that gets added in, take one thing out. If you get a new book, take an old one home. If you hang a new photo or get a new mug, take the other one home. Your office is not a place for hoarding–that’s what your closet at home is for. And no, moving it to a desk drawer doesn’t count.
Along with streamlining your actual workspace (that is, keeping only what you need at arm’s reach), don’t neglect your computer desktop. How do you expect yourself to function if you have 50 different icons on your default screen? It will only take an hour out of your day to divvy everything up into folders. This will also help you in the long run in terms of naming your files properly, cutting down the time it takes to search for something specific.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gratification you get when you cross something off a list. Start your day by checking your mail and reading off the things you didn’t get to finish from the day before. This way, you go about your day calm and collected, and you stay on top of all your tasks. Also, it cuts down on random post-its and reminders to self all over your desk.
If you feel you absolutely need more than 20 things at your workspace at any given moment in time, assign drawers for long term and short term storage. Emergency kits and extra paper can go to the bottom of your cabinet, while stationary supplies, notepads, gadgets, and photos can go at the very top.
There’s nothing wrong with decorating your desk with things that inspire you. Curate your space carefully–approach it like you would if you were managing your very own art gallery. Throw out memorabilia and images that serve no purpose, and keep only the things that inspire you on a daily basis. Change it every week if you need to. This is your sacred space, you should treat it as such.
Got any other tips for clearing that clutter? Share them with us in the comments below!