A colleague once gave me priceless advice. She said, “Clear off your office desk every night before you leave. You’ll be thankful in the morning. It means an end to missed deadlines, lost information and loss of control.” Since then, I have tried to do that very thing every evening before I leave to go home. Although I am still working on my consistency, when put into practice, I have seen numerous benefits including less distraction/better focus…
Here are six simple hacks that I have found particularly helpful in making the transition:
Reduce your office Items
The first step in keeping your desk clear is keeping less things on it and around it. Seems simple enough… almost so simple that it often gets overlooked. Take a good look around your desk’s surface. What doesn’t absolutely need to be there? Photos, calendars, books, supplies, and food should all be considered. If it’s not essential, consider removing it permanently. (Helpful Hint: Utilize every inch of your drawers. Find room in a drawer for your stapler, tape dispenser, Post-its, highlighter, and other useful supplies.)
Never let junk mail hit your desk
We know it’s easier said than done — Straight to the trash, recycling bin, or shredder!
Think before you print
Unfortunately you can’t blame all of your clutter on mail, junk or otherwise. We also create a lot of the paper piles on our desk on our own. With so much information at our fingertips as we surf the Web, it can be tempting to print every interesting thing we find. But stop and think before hitting the print button. Will that information be available in the future on that site or elsewhere? Most likely. Will you read it if you print it out? Probably not.
Increase your open desk space
Use as much available wall space as possible for installing shelves, freeing up prime real estate on your desk where clutter can build up quickly.
Clutter proofing shelves with labels
Take the above one step further and instead of tossing things onto shelves in a haphazard manner where they pile up with no rhyme or reason, label each shelf with the items that belong there. That habit alone can save a great deal of time!
Store them away
Store away those files that you don’t refer to everyday, but that you can’t discard immediately, in a closet, basement or nearby off-site storage facility. This will allow you to keep your space free of the files, while remaining easily accessible to you when you need it. (Helpful Hint: Before storing your files away, be sure to cull through them and discard anything non–essential and to organize them in a way that will allow you to easily locate anything you may need in a rush.)