Clutter’s Last Stand: DeClutter Your Desk and Office and Increase Your Productivity

Home Office, Office Organization, Productivity

If there’s anything that messes up a work day faster than clutter, I don’t ever want to meet it.  Clutter slows you down, causes distractions, and keeps you from finding what you need, when you need it.

Fortunately, there are some clear-cut ways to cut back on clutter on your desk and around your office – whether you have a home office or work office.

Give Away or Throw Out Anything You Don’t Use

Totally clear off your desk, shelves, and workstation.Put back only those things that you regularly use.   Store the rest  in drawers or file cabinets.  If you don’t use something, ask around your office – someone may be looking for exactly the thing you’re passing on.

Give Away or Throw Out Anything in Your Office You Don’t Love

Take a good look around your office or workspace.  Hold each picture, knick knack, pen, and thumbtack accountable for themselves.   Ask yourself, “Do I love this?”  If not, why are you holding onto it?  You should surround yourself with things that make you smile, motivate you, or inspire you.  All else?  Their what clutter’s made of.

Watch Out for Freeloading Papers, Files, Newspapers, Magazines, and Notebooks

Funny how these things always move in on us, isn’t it?  It’s as big a mystery as lost socks in the laundry room (Why don’t they ever disappear in pairs – why is it always jut one that must be sacrificed to the dryer gods?).   I was cleaning the shelf beside me in my home office this morning and found:  A newspaper article about feeding orioles from March, three books I’d read and hated, a Happy Meal toy (don’t judge me), and a Redbook magazine from January. 2007.

Move On To Your Desk Drawers

Organize your desk drawers by like items. Maybe you could put office supplies in one drawer (paper clips, stapler, staples, rubber bands, post it notes), phone directories and address books in another, and stationery, pens, and notepads in another.  Don’t let them mix and mingle – that only leads to hunting expeditions and they gobble up time worse than social networking sites.

Your E-Mails and Bookmarks

Virtual office clutter can cause just as many problems as physical office clutter.   Go through your e-mail account (or accounts if you’re like me) and delete all e-mail that requires no further action on your part.   If you’ve responded to the person, there really isn’t any need to keep the original e-mail.  However, if it’s something that you do need to save, at least put it in an appropriate folder… NOT just a Saved folder.  Be more specific than that or your Saved folder will soon be a hot mess.

Invest in an Office File Cabinet

Take a look at your stacks of paper.  Not imagine how neat and tidy your workstation would be if they were all sorted and filed away in a great file cabinet. It’s a purchase you’ll never regret – neither will your desk or shelves.  They’ll just be thankful that they can breathe again.

Don’t let clutter hinder your productivity or restrict your success.  Adopt the motto, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Now I have to sign off.  I have a magazine to read.

Photo Credit: I Can Has Cheezburger (and I can has an online addiction to lol cats…)

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