It’s easy to let ‘stuff’ accumulate around us, and most of us allow stacks of paper to grow on our desk tops. But clutter generally gets in the way of productivity and it can even affect our well being. Whilst a tidy desk is desirable, recent research has actually found that some clutter (personal knick-knacks for example) can actually aid creativity.
Being neat and tidy is not necessarily the same as being organised, and you can have a cluttered environment that is actually, pretty well ordered, though your colleagues might not agree! With this in mind, the aim with your desk should be to have it well organised, rather than out and out clear or tidy. Being organised is usually thought to provide the foundations of productivity. A tidy desk represents a clear and more efficient mind, or something like that. Here is what you can do to cut down on the clutter once it has accumulated.
Get Rid Of What You Don’t Need
This may sound obvious, but seriously, take a moment to look through those papers stacked there. Old scribbled messages, proposals and notes on clients you no longer have, junk mail…all of these things have a stealth-like ability to hide and go unnoticed, so take a look and you’ll probably find that most of those papers are no longer relevant or necessary, so get rid of them, taking care to shred anything containing sensitive information.
Organise Everything That You Do Need
Using a simple pen pot is better than having pens strewn across your desk or hidden away in draws. Likewise, Using box files, magazine files or storage crates for papers, is much better than letting a precarious leaning tower of paper spring up on your desk that you have to leaf through every time you need to find something.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking everything has to be on your desk. If you don’t often use something (do you really need that stapler/ blu-tac/ random other item to be on your desk?), make sure you have storage, which will allow you to put it away.
A set of drawers underneath or beside your desk is ideal, or if you are close to a wall, utilise wall space with shelving or a large book case. This will help you to get the clutter off your desk and organised away which will help you be more productive, unless you are a rare creative type who thrives in a messy environment.
The key to being organised is not just having suitable storage, but in getting into the habit of actually using it. When you store things away in a designated space, they are often easier to find and you won’t need to sweep armfuls of stuff off your desk each time you need to use it!