Remember the last time you tidied up your desk? It probably gave you a refreshed attitude toward your working space. Walking into a clean and organized work area can help you find things faster, complete tasks more quickly and enjoy your work more. Why not take some time during the upcoming holiday from work to get your office into functional shape?
Sort it out.
A great place to start organizing your desk is to sort through all your loose papers, in-trays and piles. Clean out those coffins, as I like to call them. Remember the three-step triage for paperwork:
Pull all the information and paperwork that needs to be dealt with soon. Put it in a central, easy-to-find spot on your desk so you can actually, well get it done. Or, designate the top drawer of your desk to housing all critical action items. I like to use a colored plastic folder that is durable to store all the Action items, which I keep in a basket on top of my desk. I also add each item from the pile to my to-do list, to make sure I don’t forget.
This category includes all paperwork and information that you will need to reference, but don’t require you to act on them. These documents should be loosely-speaking, at an arm’s length from your work space. Items include vital documents such as passports, prescription information, directories, work memos, specific calendars or catalogs you may need to reference for your job or activities.
These are papers or information that you rarely need, but you can’t get rid of. Such documents include taxes, memorabilia, birth/death/marriage certificates, etc. If there is a financial or legal obligation for you to keep it, but you don’t need to refer to it often, find a home for these papers that is out of the way so they don’t clutter your actual work space.
Equip your Desk.
If you’re going to spend a lot of time at your desk, why not equip it as best as possible? Here are a few things to make sure you have on-hand:
Headphones. Like to get inspired with your favorite Pandora station while you work? Want to block out he noise from co-workers? Headphones can come in handy when you need to focus.
Healthy Snacks that won’t spoil. Don’t let hunger slow you down. Instant oatmeal, apples with peanut butter, almonds, protein bars…all are great snacks that can stay in your desk drawer for more than a few days.
Toothbrush. And toothpaste, of course. Be prepared for conversations with co-workers and last-minute meetings.
Gum or mints. Forgot the toothbrush? At least get some mints.
Tide To Go Stain Remover. These pins are about as good as magic. Don’t let the salad dressing shirt stain be the point of your story.
Refillable Water Bottle. Do we need to highlight the benefits of drinking water? Surely don’t want to beat a dead horse here. Just get your water bottle to your desk. Period.
Spare Charger. Who still uses the excuse “My phone is running out of batteries?” Get yourself another power cord for the desk.
Set up Your 2016 Calendar. Prefer a digital calendar? paper calendar? Either way - get it started. One of the best ways to keep your life organized is to make routines for everything - for projects, for time to strategic or time to knock out tactical tasks. Don’t forget to block out time for more mundane items: errands, laundry, finances, personal administration, etc. Next, mark all big milestone events for the upcoming year (holidays, vacations, birthdays, critical work deadlines, school calendar events.) Once you have your routines set up, your foundation is ready for the next step: filling in the day-by-day minutia as comes barreling at you.
Once you’ve sorted your paper piles, equipped your desk and set up your calendar, you will feel relaxed and confident, ready to take on the new year.