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Established in 1974

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Tips on de-cluttering your desk


Desks are very important places – they are where most of your working day is spent. So, you should really try to make sure that your desk and the area around it are clean, clear and clutter free. I can hear the cries of ‘Clutter free – not likely!’ And, I understand, I really do! I know how easily a desk can become a mass of paper, pens and other junk, if you’re not careful. But, clutter on your desk will more than likely lead to clutter in your mind, and that’s not good if you need to concentrate to work effectively.

I know I have to have a clean and tidy desk to concentrate. If it is messy, it constantly catches my eye and I simply cannot settle until I’ve tidied it. And clear desks do have some great benefits, such as more space to work in and the ability to help keep you motivated. But, more importantly, if your desk is organised properly, it’ll allow you to work and find what you need without having to get up and move away or rummage around for hours!

So, how do you de-clutter your desk effectively? Follow these tips and your desk will remain clutter free and efficient.

Tip 1. Clear does not mean empty! – first let’s clarify what we mean when we say ‘clear’ desk. This does not mean you have to move everything off your desk – you need to keep all those things you use on a daily basis to hand so you can access them easily. This includes pens, pads, stapler, paperclips and so on.

Tip 2. Only keep your current work on your desk – if you have other things that need doing later in the week, put them away. Don’t use your desk as a filing system, it’s not! It may not seem like it, but it’s actually better to get up and put the papers away in their proper place until they are needed than shove them to the edge of your desk and work around them. Plus, you‘ll give your legs a good stretch.

Tip 3. Consider getting an ‘in-tray’ and an ‘out-tray’ – if you do this, try to make sure that they do not sit on the desk itself, this’ll help keep it clutter free. You can use these for items that you need to post out or put back into filing.

Tip 4. Clear your desk at the end of each day – spend a couple of minutes putting all your papers, pens and whatever else you’ve been using away at the end of the day. Then, when you start tomorrow morning, you’ll have a lovely clean, clear desk to sit at.

Tip 5. Shelves are great! – if you can manage it, try to get a small shelving unit. If you cannot have one fixed to the wall, simply get a small free-standing unit that you can put a lamp, pen pots and photos on. It’ll give you extra work space for your important papers.

Tip 6. A place for everything and everything in its place – making sure your desk is clear is not about opening the nearest large drawer you can find and dumping everything in it! You need to make sure that everything is in its proper place. This not only helps you find things quickly and easily, but anyone else who might need them. Say you are off ill and your boss has to rummage around on your desk to find a file he needs for an important meeting and can’t find it – he’ll not be happy!

Follow these tips and both your desk and your mind will be clear and clutter free – ready for work!

If you think you need some further help to manage your time effectively why not request the prospectus for our Effective Time Management course.