Did you know that having an organized desk is a gateway to having an organized life? I remember reading an article once on reasons why we feel stressed. One of the top reasons was living and working in a messy space. In our lives, there are many things that are out of our control. The orderliness of our living space and working space however, is something we can control. By honing in on organizing what we can control, it makes what we can’t control a bit easier to handle.
If you’re like me, your desk at work isn’t so much of a desk as it is a very large, cluttered shelf. Sticky notes, scraps of paper with notes written on them, day-old disposable coffee cups, etc. (Seriously, some days I wonder if I’ll receive an invitation from Hoarders following an anonymous nomination.) Nevertheless, I have slowly but surely begun organizing my work space, and I have already felt a significant drop in my stress levels at the office! Here are some tactics that have worked for me; I hope they work for you, too!
- Obtain a large dry erase board. I was fortunate enough to commandeer a spare one lying around. Although it was quite a lengthy task, I gathered up all those sticky notes and paper scraps, and wrote them out in an organized fashion (color coded, of course) on my dry erase board. Every time a new idea pops up, I write it on my dry erase board instead of a random sheet of paper. They’re fairly inexpensive and SO worth it. (For example, check out this one from Office Depot.)
- Use a mug to hold all your writing utensils. You can even make it fun by getting a unique, personalized mug!
- Make sure you have a small trashcan at your desk. And make it a habit to throw things away (i.e. disposable coffee cups and food wrappers) as soon as you’re done with them.
- Use folders with labels. This will make it easier to both retrieve old and sort new papers, memos, briefs, etc. Want to take it a step further? Use labels that adhere to your brand’s standards and even match them to your business cards and company letterhead! (Remember how to create a powerful image for your brand HERE.)
- Keep a notebook right next to your computer and mark it with the date every day. Jot down notes from meetings and quick to-do items. (For items that will extend beyond that day, use your dry erase board!) Cross off or check off all completed tasks. At the end of the day, review your list, and make sure to highlight any unmarked items to complete first thing tomorrow. Use the same notebook each day until it is full! (As a bonus, this saves a few trees, too.)
- Organize your computer’s desktop. Make sure your background is one that allows you to see all of your desktop’s icons. Don’t be afraid to go folder and subfolder crazy. Make sure to name your computer’s folders with names that are simple. Think, would someone else in my field be able to figure out what items would be contained in this folder?
- Keep a calendar at your desk. Being able to visualize the current date with a calendar will help you focus on deadlines and manage your time better. But beware … you may become the go-to person for the ominous office question, “What day is it today?”
Since today marks the end of the year, why not make getting organized one of your New Year’s resolutions? Do you have any other tips for organizing your work space? Let us know by leaving a comment below.