How organized is your desk at work? A messy desk is a common cause of poor time management. Piles of papers, magazines, and folders on your desk make you waste time searching for what you need. Take a look at these fun facts.
- The average US executive wastes 6 weeks per year searching for missing information in messy desks and files.
- A person who works on a cluttered desk spends, on average 2.5 hours looking for things.
- The average desk worker spends 3 hours per week sorting piles trying to find the project to work on next.
Don’t be like them! A cluttered space makes you feel overwhelmed. Creativity and productivity are not good in that state of mind. Tidy up your desk and keep it that way.
Start by sorting what you have on the desk. Do you need to keep all those papers? Recycle or shred what you don’t need. If you need the information but not the physical paper, scan the document. Make sure you create virtual folders for them with logic names that represent the content. If you already used them and need to keep the hard copies, file them on the appropriate file cabinet. Control the papers around you at the source. The best practice is to think before you print. It is good for the environment but also for your time management and office supplies budget.
As you move papers out of your way, you will uncover other items like mail and lost invoices. Get rid of what you don’t need and put those items that need further action in a dedicated bin. Make the habit to deal with incoming mail daily. Sometimes people pay bills late because they can’t find the bill or don’t remember if they receive it or paid already.
Dispose of everything that is trash. Why you have pens without ink or snack envelopes on your desk? Dispose of what you don’t need as soon as you don’t need it.
Check the drawers too! You will find more papers, snacks, and extra office supplies. It is convenient to dedicate one drawer for your things, like snacks. Create a share location for office supplies to reduce unnecessary inventory. Keep on your desk just what you need. How many pencils or black pens you need at a time?
Most people like to have things on their desks that make them feel at home. A picture frame with our kids, a pencil holder with the logo of our favorite team, you name it. That is ok but control the quantity, one or two items should be enough.
To sustain your progress take 5 minutes at the beginning and end of the day to manage your desk items. Start each morning planning your day. Retrieve and organize the documents you need for immediate work. At the end of the day sort your papers and mail and take immediate action. Recycle, scan, or file those documents, do not accumulate thinking that you will need them later. Many companies establish a clean desk policy to control sensitive information from lying around.
There are multiple benefits to keep your desk clean. It saves time and money. Uncluttered desks reduce overwhelming feelings and stress and increase productivity. A clean desk keeps sensitive items confidential and makes a good impression. Take back all that time and develop your system to ensure not falling back to the old ways.