The Orderly Life: Organizing Your Desk

If you’re getting cold sweats, nervous jitters, or outright ignoring the impending holiday season (and all the stress that comes with it), we don’t blame you! But we do have a solution. No, we can’t do your shopping for you, or prepare your aunt’s recipe to perfection, but we can help you get your life in order before the season hits full steam. Introducing: The Orderly Life, tips to get your day-to-day organized, so you’re more prepared to meet the holidays head on. 

Today, we’re tackling your workspace. Having a productive, comfortable, and organized work space means a more efficient and harmonious day, which we could all use more of in the holiday season. If your desk is in need a facelift, no problem, we have eleven easily tips to turn your workspace around, one thing you can tackle before your real holiday to-do list begins.

Time It Out:

Organizing your whole desk can feel time consuming and scary. Breaking down the tasks in timely chunks can really help stay on a reasonable cadence.

Tidy daily – Simply straightening a pile, righting that up ended lotion bottle, stacking your sticky notes at the end of the day can make a big difference for your efficiency the next day.

Do a monthly sweep – Take stock of your desk, go through the rouge stack that has been piling up, throw out those pens that have been giving you trouble, get your accessories living where they belong.

Deep clean seasonally – Spring isn’t the only time for a scrub down – any season start is ripe for cleaning! Start by removing everything from your desk and wiping it down. Then as you start to put things back, you can be conscious about what should make it back on your desk, and where.

Desk Essentials:

What lives on your desk (and what doesn’t) is a key to being not just orderly, but also productive.

Function meets fashion desk accessories –Think about the desk accessories you need to reach for often and invest in ones that you love. If have a favorite color, or design, get a set of ones that get the job done and you like seeing. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing to you, but you’ll naturally want to keep them looking nice.

Group like objects together – Keeping writing utensils, sticky notes, and paper clips near each other become a one stop shop when you need to reach for them: no scrambling for a notepad when you get an important call.

Work smarter, not harder – Essential items should live on your dominant side, so grabbing your frequently reached for items isn’t a work out. Kick knacks can be in your eye line but farther back on your desk. Keep a trash can / recycling can within reach, to keep trash from resting and living on your desk as well.

Embrace imperfection – Stressing out over making sure every paperclip and rubber band has its space could drive a person crazy. Know that clutter of small items happens, and get a junk jar or clutter tray to throw those little items in as you go. Picking a jar or tray that is beautiful keeps it looking purposeful. You can always clear that out in your monthly cleanse.

Some non-work items are essential – Getting up from your desk can totally break your work flow. Keeping a water bottle, lotion, nail files, tissues etc within reach can keep your brain focused and fulfill your needs without getting up. Think about what those things may be and have a space for them in a corner, out of the way, but in reach.

Build a System:

Now that your desk is clean and orderly, how can you maximize its use?

Eliminate paper clutter – From that stack of paper on your desk, what can be made electronic and what needs hard copies? Things that are referred to often can take up space on your desk, whereas documents that are important, but not often used, can be filed in a cabinet under your desk.

Tighten up your filing – If you’re drowning in piles: think vertically. If you can stack your trays, invest in vertical bins, or use the space under your desk for cabinets, you can keep your papers grouped  without filling up your desk with piles.

Assign color codes and discard dates – After a period of time, papers on your desk become no longer relevant. Using sticky notes to denote that expiration date can remind you to throw things out. Using colored tabs or paperclips can help you easily find invoices, receipts, outgoing mail, or whatever categories are important for you to hunt down.

With the holidays on the horizon, keep your eye out for more Friday editions of The Orderly Life, your guide to getting prepared before the seasonal rush.