How to Declutter Your Desk and Increase Productivity

Declutter and organize your desk to de-stress your life.

Your desk says a lot about you. Whether it’s your work desk or home workspace. Whether you work in the corporate world, in the non-profit sector or are self-employed, your desk and organization can speak volumes about your productivity and efficiency.

Organization and tidiness is key, no matter how many people say that they think better with clutter. Clutter and disorganization are both time wasters and in this busy hyper-connected world, you need to be organized to keep everything on track and maximize your effectiveness. Whether you use your new found extra time to work more or to play more–it’s up to you–but learn how to make more time by banishing clutter and creating organization.

 Tips to de-stress your desk…and your life.

1. Digital Desk

These days your desk is not just about paper; much of our work and our organization (or lack thereof) is done in the digital sphere. A messy digital desktop is just as bad as a messy physical desktop. Keep your desktop and hard drive organized and tidy by using folders and coming up with a filing system that works for you. Organize by project type, date, work in progress or completed, name of clients, etc.

In addition, tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote can be useful in expanding your storage capacity and helping you create some organizational structure.

2. Calendar

Consider keeping a digital calendar, if you are not already doing so. By keeping a digital calendar, you can have access at home, work and even across devices. Google Calendar is what I use, and I like that I can easily link to other calendars (like my husband’s calendar) and that I can color code items. I even sync mine to my Facebook account, so my Facebook events show up on my calendar.

The days of having separate work and home calendar are past–our lives are too integrated and fast-paced. Save time and become better organized by using a digital calendar.

3. Physical Desk

Even though so much of what we do is online, we still end up being paper pushers. That means you must develop a system for managing those piles of papers on your desk. Do not let your desk become just a collecting place for receipts, bills waiting to be paid and everything else that needs attending to.

Create a clear system for how to handle incoming paper and outgoing paper. I have a system in place on my desk: unpaid bills go in one place, items waiting to be filed go in another place, items that need some attention (like calling to clarify a bill or with following up with some action) go in another place, etc. Whenever I sit down at my desk, my work is already organized and laid out in front of me.

In addition, discipline yourself to do your filing regularly. I file items weekly in my home office. Finally, decide what supplies you need on hand, i.e. stapler, scissors, stamps, pens, etc and keep those in handy organizers–keep everything else stored away.

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Image: West Elm

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.