SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Organize Your Desk Step By Step | Family Economics

By Tanna Clark

If you find your workspace overwhelming, you are not alone! We have information coming at us at an alarming rate. Although we were supposed to be a paperless society by this time we are far from it. Here is a step-by-step approach you can take to clearing the chaos from your desk.

Set up sorting boxes. First and foremost prepare for the big sort and purge. Create sorting boxes for the following items: shred, trash, file, office supplies, take action (your to-do items). You can make categories as you see fit along the way as well. The main purpose is to be able to sort out what is on your desk quickly and effectively.

Clear it all off! Yes! For the next step I want you to clear it all off including your drawers. Quickly sort the items while putting each item in its respective box. You can leave the computer if it is too heavy but if not clear it off, too!

Rethink your layout. Now that you have your desk cleared off, rethink the way your desk is sitting. Are you not being productive there? Perhaps you need more sun or you don’t like the desk facing the wall. Now is your chance to make a change if something is bothering you.

Tackle the cords. Give your computer a good dusting off and get it situated. Take this time to tame your cords once and for all.

Create an inbox. We all have the habit of throwing something on our desk and dealing with it later. Make room for an inbox to place these “needs action” items so they are at least corralled in one place and don’t get mixed up with what you are currently working on.

Only bring back what you really need. You already sorted out the trash and shredded items so now take a good look at the office supplies you had at your desk. Are these items you need on a daily basis or weekly/monthly? Is it something that needs to take up residence right at your desk or can it be moved elsewhere? Only keep things on or in your desk that you use frequently enough that they deserve the storage space there.

Pat yourself on the back. Take a break and pat yourself on the back. You now have the basics of a functioning workspace again.

Now, take care of the filing before letting it pile up again. Then move onto your action items. Schedule time for the next few days to really sit down and tackle your to do’s. As you are doing so, make note of what type of tasks they are. If you notice it is the accounting stuff you don’t like dealing with, then you need to think about creating a system for managing that task better. Piles often represent delayed decisions and things we don’t like dealing with. Get to the bottom of the cause, or should I say pile, now to keep the clutter away!

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