tidy, organized desk

Is the your office so full it’s repelling you rather than serving as your centre of creativity, problem solving and getting great work done?

What is that about?

Is it that you are drawn to the next interesting task and not so much to putting things away?  Putting things away has got to be one of the most deadly boring things for many of my clients.

Confession: even I don’t LOVE it.  It might help to reframe it and view it as paying yourself forward. Short term pain for long term gain. You know you’ll thank yourself later.

Or, has the office become a dumping ground for those around you? This is incredibly common in home offices.  If so, boundary setting may be required, and of course making sure there are homes for those things that land in your office! A topic for another post.

Before you start moving things around, envision your ideal work space. Hold this picture in your mind as you work to create the environment in which you’ll thrive.

Now how do you go from a cluttered to calm desk space? With these 5 simple steps:


1. Commit

Schedule 90 minutes to tackle the re-organization of your desk top. Write this in your calendar. You’ve made an appointment with yourself.  Keep it. If you repeat this regularly, you’ll need less than 30 minutes.


2. Clear

Scan or file any papers, folders or reference material you wish to keep. If volumes are large, gather like categories for processing later. Schedule time for this in your calendar as well.

Recycle or shred any unimportant papers.

Gather items to be returned to others, or relocated. Use a shopping bag or a box for each location.

Use a bin or box – perhaps the one paper is delivered in – and place in it all the remaining items from your desk.  Now it’s time to make some decisions.


3. Cull

As you place items in the box, edit your supplies. Get rid of pens and markers that don’t work or that you simply don’t like using. Throw out dried up glue sticks. Let go of the three jammed staplers that you think might work one day and replace them with one that does.

Keep only one each of basics such as tape or glue at your desk, and place backups in a supply cabinet.

Take a closer look at all the awards, stress-busters and office trinkets you have accumulated. Be discerning and decide which have meaning to you. Let the others go.

If you like to keep photos in your office, consider mounting them on the wall, or changing to a digital photo frame to reduce their footprint.


4. Categorize

Sort the items into two groups – those which should remain with your desk and those that can be placed elsewhere.

Store the items you use most often close at hand. The less often you use something, the more you can afford the time it takes to retrieve it.

If you’re not sure what you’re using, place your supplies into a shoe box. Each time you use an item, retrieve it from the shoe box and put it back in your drawer. If after a week you haven’t used an item it may not need to be by the desk, in fact you may not need it at all.


5. Cycle

Repeat the process! Overhauling your desk area once in awhile is a good idea keep to your essential supplies. It will make it easier to clear your desk at the end of every day, enabling you to start each day with a sense of control.

When is it definitely time to do this? Before you get that heavy, cringy feeling that a cluttered office gives you.  Note the date that you cleaned up last time, and schedule the next clean up a week or two sooner, or after a big project or particularly busy time.

If you have a clear desk policy for security reasons, it is critical to establish good habits so that files are in order when you need them rather than being stashed away quickly.  Say no to the “Stash and Dash”!


Good luck! You can do this.


If you’re want some support while getting organized, we offer virtual and in person coaching. Set up discovery call here to find out more.

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