When your desk is cluttered, it can work to your advantage if you’re trying to rev up your creative juices. But, if you’re trying to hunker down and get stuff done, you’ll need to declutter your desk. And, there’s research to back this up.
I know, you’re probably not looking forward to clearing up your workspace. But there are some creative strategies you can use to organize your desk and increase your productivity.
1. Invite a colleague (or your supervisor) over. There’s nothing better at getting you to clean up than knowing someone else will be seeing your space. So, invite a colleague or workmate over to collaborate on a project in your office. Pick a date and time and let that be the driving force to help you declutter your desk.
2. Take something whenever you get up. An easy thing to do each time you get up to take a break is to remove something that doesn’t belong. If it’s on your desk and needs to be elsewhere — like in a file cabinet or on someone else’s desk — take it with you the next time you leave your workspace and put it in it’s designated home.
3. Set a timer for five minutes. Organizing doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process. Often, you can get the results you want in just five minutes. So, set a timer and start tackling your desk. What can you do in five minutes?
- Group all your priority files together
- Put away five files
- Remove trash (e.g., sandwich wrappers, empty drink bottles)
- Gather your notes (or notebooks)
- Open and sort a handful of mail
- Give five pens (or other office supplies) that you don’t use to a colleague
4. Use the Rule of Five. Jack Canfield suggests that anyone can use the Rule of Five to achieve specific goals. Basically, you need to do five things every day that will get you closer to your goal. What five things can you do every day to ensure that your desk remains clutter-free?
5. Take before and after photos. Take a picture before you begin clearing your desk to give you a good idea about what you don’t want your desk to look like. A before shot might also help you to notice things that you didn’t see previously. And, the after photo will remind you of what your workspace should look like at the end of each day.
So, there you have it. Five creative strategies you can use straight away to declutter your desk or just about any other space (btw, here are three more things you can do). Give them a try then come back here and leave a comment with the one works best for you.
Certified Professional Organizer®” Deb Lee is a Certified Professional Organizer® and productivity specialist in the Washington, DC Metro area. Deb also loves technology and, with her newest venture, SOHO Tech Training, helps small office and home office (SOHO) entrepreneurs learn about social media, blogging, and apps that can help them get stuff done. Some of her best advice has been featured in USA Today, on WUSA9 television, and Evernote.com.