How to Keep Your Desk Surface Productive for YOU (How-to)

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My desk could be considered cluttered.

That may surprise you, given that I write about ways to de-stress and be more productive as a professional.

But having some clutter doesn’t necessarily translate to being inefficient.

Stop and take a look at your desk surface right now. What’s on it?

Mine has several inspiring items, a couple of computer monitors, two small dry-erase boards, some office supplies, and decor on a table to my right. Because I collect things that have the word HOPE on them, my desk could be considered cluttered, but overall it functions in a way that helps me be efficient.

I had a reader mention that one of her biggest pain points is keeping her desk surface cleared off, and I’m sure this challenge is widespread. So here are three tips for you:

Remember that the state of your desk doesn’t always reflect your efficiency.

As I mentioned above, my desk and office could be considered cluttered. Quite frankly, I have drawers and cabinets that could use a major decluttering. So I’m right there with you … yet feel I pretty efficient when it comes to getting things done. So don’t be so hard on yourself.

Focus on your "traffic pattern:" the desk surface and areas you use most.

It’s overwhelming to consider decluttering an entire desk, cubicle or office space all at once. So determine your traffic patterns and focus on straightening those areas out first.

Establish a sustainable filing system.

If paperwork to be filed is a nemesis for you, reframe your approach. Often, we think we have to carve out a large amount of time to do filing. Instead, make it a habit to file for five minutes every day, at the same set time (maybe before you do anything else.) You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done by consistently applying yourself over time, even if only for a few minutes each time. Use a timer if you need to. This helps you stay focused and know there is an end time--particularly helpful if it’s a task you dread.

Work a little bit at a time on getting your desk to be a place where you want to work and are productive, and cut yourself some slack when it’s less than pristine.

What are YOUR ideas for keeping your desk surface clean?

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