I've been at the World-Herald for a little more than four months now. When I started, my desk was pristine. Everything was in the appropriate folder and rested in the proper location. But somewhere along the way, things got a bit sloppy. This morning, I came in to piles of unorganized paperwork, some overripe fruit and the week-old remnants of an iced coffee.
If you're like me, your desk gets a little wacky from time to time. Here are some tips and tricks to help it get clean again and stay that way.
» Don't try to attack your whole work space at one time — it'll be overwhelming. Work in sections. Start with the garbage. Go through everything on your desk and toss or recycle what you know you don't need. Then begin organizing what you plan to hold on to.
» LaurenConrad.com recommends cleaning your desk at least once a week. This way it will be less overwhelming. If you wait until it's a messy pit, organizing will be that much harder, and you'll be less apt to want to do it.
» If your desk is like mine, you probably have papers everywhere. Grab some folders and label them with categories. Start filing paperwork into the appropriate folder. If you're incapable of keeping a physical space organized, move any paperwork online. When you get a piece of mail or a paper notice of any sort, write the important information in a document and then recycle the paper.
» Buy organizers you'll actually use. This organizer goes right by your computer and holds just about everything you could need.
» Use only one piece of scratch paper a day. The Happiness Project recommends jotting all of your notes on one piece of paper every day instead of on Post-It Notes or whatever paper you can find. Then, at the end of the day, copy anything you need off that paper and recycle it. This will help to reduce clutter and help you to know where everything is. If you take a lot of notes, take them in the same place, such as the same computer file or a notebook.
» Remember: Everything you own does not need to be on your desk all the time. A CNN Money article suggests only keeping the items you're working with that day on your desk. Otherwise, you will feel overwhelmed by incomplete tasks, which will probably hinder your productivity.
» Wipe down your desk once in a while. If you take the time to sanitize and clean your area, you will have a harder time messing it up, even if only for a little while. It's easier to take care of a space that isn't sticky, dirty and kind of smelly.
» Make your desk a space you want to be at. Decorate, but not so much that you distract yourself. Set up a lamp to make the lighting better. If you work from home, light candles. Nobody is productive in a gross, uncomfortable space. You spend 40 hours a week at your desk. Try to make it a space that you enjoy.