Your boss walks into your workspace and requests a report. They take one look at your messy desk and shake their head in disappointment. Chances are you have tried to calm their fears by stating you know exactly where the report is. Beneath that calm exterior, however, even you begin to doubt whether you can place your hands on the report. That is when you know it is time to de-clutter. Here are a few ways you can de-clutter your workspace, increase productivity and keep your boss happy.
Tame the personalization. Some offices do not allow personal knick-knacks in individual workspaces. If you work for an organization that allows employees to bring in personal items, keep them under control. Don’t put so many knick-knacks on your desk that you can’t see the surface or it hinders your ability to work. Depending on the size of your desk, display one to two pictures maximum. Toys and larger items should be moved off to other non-usable areas such as the top of filing cabinets, bookcases or windowsills. If you have too many items, consider taking some home or boxing them up. If you insist upon keeping the items in the office, consider rotating the items display on a seasonal schedule.
How many staplers, tape dispensers and file systems do you really need? Make sure the top of your desk contains items you use on a frequent basis; this usually includes one stapler, one letter opener, one memo pad, etc. Please note that most people do not use more than one stapler and you can only write on one memo pad at a time. You do not need to stockpile office supplies on top of your desk.
Dive beneath the surface. Unless there is absolutely no other place for supplies, there is no need to stockpile supplies in your desk drawers. A box of staples can go a long way. Ink pens dry up. There are only so many highlighter colors. There is no benefit to keeping massive quantities of supplies in your desk drawer. Keep your desk organized and clutter free by only keeping a three month stack of supplies at your desk.
While most of your organizational efforts are free of charge, there are items you can buy to help maintain organization in just about any desk drawer. They come in a variety of sizes, colors and styles that can help maintain a neat, tidy and organized desk.
Invest in a desktop organizer to hold labeled folders for each task so you can eliminate the piles of paper on your desk. Keep only the files you need to work on that day on top, consider filing the rest away in daily to-do files in your desk drawer. If you’re worried about “out of sight, out of mind”, make sure you open the drawer first thing every morning.
Make this the last time you fool yourself with the words, “it may look like a mess, but I know exactly where everything is.”