10 Steps to an Organized Desk, Pt. 1

It's time to clear your desk - no better time than right now! The time it takes to organize will be quickly recouped. By the time you're no longer wasting moving piles around to find what you're looking for. Your desktop is some of your highest value space. Only vital items belong on THIS "real estate." The steps...

  1. Remove everything from the desk surface, and give it a good clean.

  2. Bring back the essential, larger equipment (i.e. phone, desk light, computer, printer). Dust and clean, as needed, and place each piece in its ideal location.

  3. Bring back essential, smaller items (i.e. pencil cup, stapler, paper clips). Place within arm's reach of where they'll be most often used.*

  4. Make a landing pad for the everyday items that you don't keep in drawers. I re-purposed a clear note paper holder that I lined with felt. It's the right size to hold my cell phone and keys. Place your landing pad in a place that provides easy access as you enter and leave. Choose a space for your planner or desk calendar where it's easy to see and use. Keep it open to "today."

  5. Bring back your paperwork. Sort each project into its own file folder, but don't fuss with fancy labels or label printer. Instead, hand write the project name, and the due date, if applicable.

  6. Place ONLY the most current project right in front of you. All other work in progress is either held in a desktop sorter or in the front of the most accessible desk drawer. The most common sorter is a stack of paper trays, but consider using a vertical file sorter for easy viewing. Each project gets its own labeled file folder and its own compartment in the sorter.

Steps 7-10, organizing your desk drawers, is the subject of the next article.


* Exception: Are you a person who has a tough time sitting still for very long? You may want to try moving your most often used items further from your workstation. This may sound counter-intuitive. But getting up periodically to use the stapler or toss paper in the recycle bin, may increase your ability to focus and allow you to fidget less.