Isn’t it a great feeling to walk into your office first thing in the morning and everything is clean, fresh and organized? In my opinion, an organized work environment creates a more peaceful and productive work environment. Here are some “clean desk” tips I’ve learned over the past years:
1. Straighten up your desk before you leave your office at the end of the workday. Your desk is generally the center of your work area and in fact, it may be the most important piece of furniture in the room. The items you have on your desk should contribute to the success of your business, not distract from doing business.
2. I have a rule of thumb: File it and don’t pile it. Take the extra minute or two to clear your desk of those files that should be filed away. Piles of file folders balancing on the edge of a desk can be an accident waiting to happen – this goes for the space under your desk too.
3. Only keep things on your desk that important for doing business. Eliminate distractions and dust collectors. Eliminate those items that can fall over or off your desk – pencil/pen holders, knick-knacks, piles of paper, etc.
4. Create a system to handle “paper.” Invest in paper trays, incline file sorters or project folders – things that will help you be and feel more organized. Out of control piles of paper can become a time waster. The more clean space you have open on your desk, the more space you have to do meaningful work.
5. Handle mail right away. Unopened mail can become a leaning tower of paper and envelopes just waiting to fall onto the floor. Handle the mail as it arrives – act on what is important, file what needs to be saved and immediately shred what you do not need.
6. Keep important things within reach. If you use something more than a few times a day, then it is probably important enough to keep within reach. Make room for the productive and important items – pens, stapler, paper clips, manuals, etc. Place less important items away in cabinets, closets and drawers.
7. Look at your to-do list and determine what you’ll need to do business for the day. I’ve found that if I take out the files, books, and reports that I’ll need to use during the day, it saves me time and energy when I’m ready to use them. Seeing those items can also help me stay focused on the tasks I intend to complete before I leave the office.
To me, there is nothing more distracting than piles of paper, file folders and unfinished projects scattered around my desk. A clean desk provides me with more energy. During the workday I find myself less focused on the mess and more focused on moneymaking activities. Wouldn’t you agree that it is worth a few extra minutes to keep a clean desk?
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