Making your desk work for you

The average person loses an hour a day to disorganization.

Isn’t that horrible? AN ENTIRE HOUR of you work time…. Wasted… because you’re not organized. Just like in your home life your kitchen is your command center, for your work, your desk is your command center. That’s where it’s at, that’s where you make or break your work day.

How well your desk is organized helps set the tone and productivity level of your work. When you can’t find something… it makes you stressed and frantic. Organized spaces mean breathing room.

Here are my best tips to organize your desk for efficiency and productivity:

VISUALS
While you want to create a space that is emotionally appealing to you, clutter on your desk is counterproductive, so a few knick-knacks can work for you, but too much can be a distraction. Too many quotes and inspirational motifs also tend to be counterproductive because when we are bombarded with too much we tend to shut down, not to absorb more.

LAYOUT
Whenever possible, be near a natural light source. Your desk itself will benefit from some hacks:
– Have your monitor at eye level
– Put frequently used items on your dominant side so you’re not reaching
– If you have an easily accessible drawer, leave your office supplies there unless they’re being used, if you don’t have a drawer, beware of too many supplies on your desk surface. Conversely, getting up to get supplies interrupts your brain flow, so you want items you use to be close. Keep like items together.
– Control your cables. There are several solutions to get your cables tied together so they are not on the floor or creating abstract art behind your desk. 😉
–  Limit your post it’s. I know that it’s fun to have all those colours, but it is much more productive and time efficient to have a single spot for notes. You can use apps, a notebook or notepad, but sticky notes should be for short-term reminders. Too many of them and they’ve lost their purpose.

COMPUTER DESKTOP
Take control of your computer desktop. If you have an organized file system you don’t need 47 shortcuts on your desktop screen. Looking at all those shortcuts every time you need something would be the equivalent of having most of your clothes scattered around the room and trying to find a specific pair of socks. Organize your files, group items into folders, have a shortcut to your main folder – all these are options to make your desktop a spot for your mind to rest, not to get overwhelmed.

EMAIL
Email follows the same thought process as your files, too many emails in your inbox are a major distraction, as well as creating frustration and a sense of not accomplishing what you should. Ideally you will determine specific times of day to deal with email, and do the entire process: read, take action, eliminate (delete or archive).

FLOW
Only keep relevant things on your desk, or things you are actually working on. There are several systems you can put in place to organize the things that need to be done – the Eisenhower box is my favourite:

1. Do now = Important and Urgent
2. Delegate or schedule to do after 1 = Urgent but not important
3. Schedule a time to do = Important but not urgent
4. Let it go = Not important and not urgent

This can be done several ways – horizontal dividers are perfect for this, but folders, the notebook we talked about in Layout, drawers… the important thing is to not let unfinished business sit on your desk. Chances are if you haven’t done it after a few weeks you won’t do it at all.

REASSESS
Frequently (weekly is good, daily is faster) take stock of your work space and prepare for your next day. Set out what you will need, file, put away or eliminate what is done, and keep what needs to be there.

It is VERY easy to become de-sensitized to clutter, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you anymore. Take a good look at your surroundings and do the work to make it support the life you want instead of hinder it.

Organization looks different for everyone, the point is NEVER to organize exactly like someone else, but it is ALWAYS to organize in a way that keeps you inspired, productive and not overwhelmed.

Keeping it simple,
AK

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