Did you know that the above is the full version of the often used quote, “a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind”? How you answer Mr. Einstein’s question? I would answer, “An empty desk is a sign of someone ready to get something done!” Are you that someone who is ready to get something done? How about starting with organizing the hub of your business: your desk? Desks seem to become cluttered right before our eyes with all of the paper, electronics and office paraphanelia that land on it every day. You can easily organize that clutter by understanding why a clear desk matters and learning the 6 easy steps to clear it out. Let’s get started by talking about the importance of a clear desk.
3 Reasons Why a Clear Desk Matters
Cluttered desks often thwart the productivity in an office and create unnecessary anxiety and stress. Uncluttering a desk will not only unclutter one’s mind, it will also
- minimize resistance so you can focus on getting your work done
- help you work more efficiently (and you will get more done)
- help you free up time, energy, concentration and creativity
Overall, a clear desk can make your work more enjoyable and that gives you a productivity edge that makes work feel less like work. Let’s move on to explore what supplies are needed to begin clearing the clutter.
Items Needed to Clear the Clutter
- A large waste receptacle or plastic bags
- Boxes with lids (Banker Boxes are ideal, but clear plastic bins with lids will work; in a pinch you can use laundry baskets or grocery/office supply boxes too)
- Sticky notes (or paper & tape)
- Writing Utensil
Steps to Clear the Clutter
- CLEAR A HOLDING AREA to house to where your removed items can be stored temporarily while you work on organizing your desk (can be a closet, wall/floor space, under the desk or area near office).
- LABEL, LABEL, LABEL: Label the boxes/bins in the following manner and place in the holding area:
- Keep: all things that will stay in your office
- Donate: anything that no longer has a use (or you don’t love) and is still in good working condition
- Distribute: all things that have migrated to your desk, but belong in another room.
- SORT/PURGE or PURGE/SORT: Start at one end of the desk and remove each item: ask yourself what category should it go into: Keep, Toss, Donate, Distribute. Place in appropriate box (or wastebasket/plastic bag if to be Tossed)
NOTE: Minimize the number of things you keep on your desk; this is the optimal time to get rid of anything that will not support your goal towards efficient workflow. Remember: simplicity will make your workspace feel less cluttered, thus making it easier to work freely and accomplish more.
- CATEGORIZE AS YOU GO: Group like items with like to make the categorizing stage go quicker and easier. (i.e., loose papers in one box, necessary items for daily workflow in another, items used on occassion, office supplies, notebooks, etc.)
- REMOVE EVERYTHING: Continue removing, purging and sorting until NOTHING is left on your desk.
- EMPTY THE BOXES & CLEAN IT OFF: Empty the boxes appropriately then clean the surface of your desk and any equipment left.
Take a step back and look at what you have just accomplished. YOU HAVE REACHED a clear desk. Sit in your chair and revel in how it feels. Stretch your arms out over your desk and touch the emptiness; breathe the space. It’s pretty awesome, isn’t it?
When you are saturated with the feeling of accomplishment, SEND ME A COMMENT about how it feels – I’d love to hear your feedback. If you have any questions, as always, feel free to drop me a direct note.
Check back for the next post in this organizing series that will help you understand the mindset shift needed to organize your desk and teach you about the categories needed to continue the process.