Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Keep Your Desk Tidy

I found this article on keeping your desk tidy. I like it. Essentially because staying organized can help reduce frustration and becoming overwhelmed from all the clutter. So in my quest for greater peace in my life, here's just another way to help keep my mind clear. Maybe it will help you too:

1. Use a system to manage paper trails - Most of the clutter on our desks are paper. So figuring out a way to organize them will help a lot! Here are some suggestions:
- Inbox Tray: This can be a regular letter tray where you put documents that you don't yet have a place for.
- Incubate Tray: This is where you put all the items that are "on hold." Basically anything you don't have time to fully complete, or aren't ready to begin.
- Action File: Here is where you put all papers requiring more than 2 minutes of your attention.
- Current Projects Rack: Use a file rack to hold folders for your active projects.

- Filing Cabinet: File away any completed projects, general items or anything else you might need to refer to again in the future.
- Dumb boxes: Always have a trash can or shredder close by to eliminate the hesitation to save anything unnecessary.

2. Banish Post-it Notes - Now this is something I would have most trouble doing, but the rationale makes sense. Post-its are too easy to lose, and to some may look ugly and OCD. So instead, keep a little notebook on your desk to write down reminder notes.

3. Trash Printouts - After you've completed any actions associated with a printed file, then throw it away. Especially if you already have a copy of it on your computer, don’t keep it lying around on your desk.

4. Be Ready to File - By keeping blank file folders and labels close by, there's no excuse not to keep things tidy and filed away.

5. Ritualize your Reviews - Throughout the day, process through your Inbox so that by the end of the day it is empty and ready for tomorrow. Right before you leave at the end of the day, clear off any daily clutter. While you're at it, at the end of the week be sure to relocate any files that have changed their status (on hold, action, trash, etc.).

6. Throw Away Pens - I know some of you are screaming, like myself. But all we really need is 2 or 3 pens. If it doesn't work or doesn't have a cap, just toss it. My personal feeling is, don't toss them completely - maybe relocate them to a far away drawer you can go back to when one of yours runs out.

7. Say no to Schwag - It can be difficult to resist all the free schwag at conferences and office events. But really, if they end up littered across your desk, probably should bite the bullet and toss 'em on out.

8. Take Your Books Home - Any books you do not use on a regular basis, take them on home. You’ll have more space to work, and if you have to leave your job for any reason (heaven forbid), you’ll have fewer heavy items to pack.

9. Eat Outside - Eating at your desk encourages trash and crumbs in your keyboard. Let's face it! We all know it's true. So allow yourself a mental break from work and enjoy your lunch outside the office away from any phone or computer interruptions.

10. Limit Photo Frames - Don't clutter your desk with frames. Keep the essentials, no more than 3... and instead create a slide show for you screen saver you can view at any time.

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