“A cluttered desk is a sign of creativity and imagination”… this is the excuse many people give when faced with a mountain of papers, trinkets, and cups piled up on their work desks. Truth be told, they are plain disorganized and lazy in regards to office cleaning.
When you start wasting time looking for things amid the chaos that your work desk has become, instead of investing that time in being creative and brilliant, you know it’s time to change something.
Miracles happen; even a messy person can maintain a clean and organized desk, and here we give you 10 precious tips to do just that:
1. Create a system to manage paper
Most of the clutter on work desks is paper, thus, you have to find a place for everything:
•An inbox, a simple stackable letter tray where you can put the documents that can’t be filed yet, perhaps memos, printouts, or other random papers placed on your desk by other people.
•An incubate box, a letter tray located above your inbox one to put things that are “on hold”. These relate to things that are not yet completed like articles you plan to read, sketches for a potential project, or information about an upcoming event.
•An action and follow-up file, an A-Z accordion file works perfect. In it, you will put papers that require an action that will take you more than two minutes like forms to fill out, or documents you must review.
•A current projects holder, a file holder or box to put your active projects’ folders. There should be one folder per project.
•A filing cabinet, to put completed projects, reference items, or any other material that you may be using in the future. Employ simple flat folders labeled from A-Z to stack your information.
•Dump boxes, namely, a trashcan, recycling bin and shredder. Get rid of everything you no longer need, in the best way possible.
Now, you need the POR system to clean your desk: Process. Organize. Review.
•Process: Put all the papers on your desk in the inbox, check each file, and ask yourself if you can act on it. If you can:
-Do it, if it will take you less than two minutes.
-Delegate it, if you are not the right person to take care of it.
-Defer it, if it takes longer than two minutes, put it in your action and follow-up file, or in your projects’ file if it has to do with a project.
•Organize: If you don’t have to act on the file:
-If it is not needed, trash it, recycle it or shred it.
-Put it in the incubate box until you are ready to deal with it.
-File it in your filing cabinet for future reference.
•Review: Set up reviews for you to process your inbox and to organize your files:
-Daily, go through your inbox at least twice during the day, it must be empty by the end of the day to start again tomorrow.
-Weekly, at the end of the week, move the completed projects to your filing cabinet, check your incubate box and see what you are ready to tackle, and dispose of what you have put into the recycling bin.
-Monthly, at the end of the month, check your filing cabinet and clean it from files you won’t be using again.
2.Get rid of Post-it notes
These get lost easily and look ugly. Use a notebook to write down reminder notes instead.
3.Trash any printouts
Do not keep printouts after you have completed the task related to them. You should already have a hard copy.
4.Have blank folders and a marker in your desk
You won’t be filing anything if you don’t have things handy.
5.Schedule your reviews
Set a time to clean your desk at the end of every day. It will become a habit fast.
6.Get rid of pens
Just keep two pens, no need for more.
7.Do not accept promotional items
This includes cheap pens, magazines, brochures, postcards, or anything else that will clutter your desk. Just say no.
8.Keep books at home
If there are books you don’t need regularly, keep them home.
9.Don’t eat at your desk
This only means more trash and dirt: paper bags, cups, utensils, crumbs, and stains. Additionally, eating out lets you have a break from work.
10.Limit photo frames
You should have a picture of your loved ones at your desk, but don’t overdo it, it can only distract you and clutter your workspace.
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