Does your desk make you anxious just looking at it? Does it always take some digging to find what you need? Have you looked at your desk and decided enough is enough? Then you’ve come to the right blog! Even if your job doesn’t include a desk, you can apply these tips to any workspace. By keeping your work area neat and organized, you’re setting yourself up for better productivity, fewer mistakes, and less frustration.
Cleaning and reorganizing your desk is going to take some time, so make sure you dedicate part of your schedule to it. If you have other areas besides your desk, like a bookshelf or cabinets, it may be best to reorganize them another time and focus on your desk. This isn’t something you’ll want to quit halfway through. With projects like these, it always gets messier before it gets cleaner.
Start by taking absolutely everything off your desk. This will give you a clean slate to work from. You may want to take this opportunity to clean off any dust bunnies hiding in the corners. From here you can start placing your essentials back. Keep their placement purposeful, though. Do you use your stapler a lot? Then keep it handy. If you don’t, maybe place it further out of the way or even in a drawer. Here at Dion, many of our employees have labeled places where their bench tools go. By making sure everything has a “home,” it’s easy to keep organized, even when someone else borrows a tool. The labels make it clear where the tool goes once they are done with it. And just as important as your essential items is your actual workspace, so make sure there’s always plenty of clear area.
We’re all familiar with the concept of “yes, no, and maybe” piles. Go through your clutter and decide what you need to keep, throw away, and what you’re not sure of. Organize everything in your “keep” pile on your desk in a way that makes sense for you. Again, everything should have a dedicated place that supports your daily function. Obviously toss what you have put in the “throw away” pile. For me, magazines tend to pile up until I finally throw a stack in the recycling. For the items you’re not sure if you still need, here’s a handy test: put the items aside for a week and if you haven’t used them, toss them. Simple as that. We often hold onto things “just in case,” but more often than not, these things just become annoying clutter.
If you travel at all for your work, or even have a hybrid office-home schedule like I do, you probably have “the work bag.” Just like your desk, take some time to clean it out. After months of running around with it on my shoulder, my work bag became a travelling garbage bin. Reclaim the usefulness of your bag by giving it a good sorting. Who knows, you might find some long lost items this way!
Once you have your physical items sorted (and please test your pens to make sure they all work), it’s time to clear up your digital workspace. Do you have a bunch of files saved to your desktop, creating a cluttered screen? Time to organize those into folders. Make sure you label and save these files in a way you’ll remember later, not just hastily flicking them off your desktop. Next is your email. Can you unsubscribe from any emails that are always cluttering your inbox? Maybe it suits you best to make categories for your different email subjects. Poke around in your email settings and discover ways to make the constant stream of emails more digestible. Personally, I forward certain emails to designated folders and color-code other emails by department. This makes it much easier to find what I’m looking for.
Like all virtues, tidiness needs to be maintained. Try to make it a habit during the last five minutes of each day to clear any junk from your desk and straighten up. If you notice papers piling up again, it’s always best to tackle them sooner rather than later. A clean desk or workspace is your friend - so try to keep them around!
By Aubrey Dion
Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.