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Ideas for keeping your office desk clean and tidy

Is your desk a messy, disorganized pile of clutter, rather than a calming, tranquil space for you to get your head down and focus? Then it’s time to make a change.

The piles of notes from 3 years ago, the 5 empty mugs and the mountain of post-it notes clinging on for dear life are only a distraction, leaving you feeling demotivated and uninspired.

Keeping your desk tidy can help keep your mind clear and focused during busy work periods. Here are a few quick and practical ideas to get your office desk looking clean and tidy.

Contrary to popular belief, a messy desk is not a sign of creativity. It’s just messy!

1. Organize and clear out piles of paper

If in doubt – chuck it out!

Do you really need all those old notes? Is that letter from last September really necessary anymore?

Set aside an hour or two to go through all the old documents on your desk. If you won’t need it again, chuck it. If you have a stack of old papers you want to keep, scan them and save them in an organized file on your computer. That way, you’ll have more desk space, and you can easily search your computer for the papers which you need, when you need them.

In the future, use a single notepad or diary to record notes, to-do lists and other scribbles. That way, you’re not left with cluttered and disorganized piles of paper!

2. Get rid of anything you don’t really need

Take a look at your desk and think about what you actually need on a regular basis. You probably don’t need 2016’s calendar, a cookery book and 5 photo frames.

Try and limit yourself to things which are essential, and have only a few decorations. You might need to bring certain things in from home some days, but develop a habit of taking them home at the end of the week.

Less clutter means less distraction! Minimalism is key.

3. Organize your supplies

Organizing your stationary, tools and supplies can help minimise stress and keep you feeling organized. It’s a simple step which is often overlooked.

Have a stationary drawer or use a jar for your pens and pencils, and make it a rule to put them back in their designated place at the end of each day.

Have a drawer for your current projects only, which is strictly for things you’re working on at the moment. That way, you can get to work straight away every morning, without looking around for your notes in a mixed up pile of old clutter.

4. Keep your desk and kitchen separate

Eating at your desk may seem fine when you’re in a hectic rush to get a project completed.

But when you start finding crumbs gathering inside your computer keyboard and smell the stench of mouldy lunch containers you forgot to throw away, it makes sense to take your lunch elsewhere.

Besides, lunch time should be your time – get yourself away from that desk!

5. Schedule regular cleaning time

Having read the first 4 ideas you’re probably itching to give your desk a makeover. But there’s no point doing this once and going back to your old ways.

Make a point of having a quick tidying up at the end of every day. Also try and schedule a regular slot each week where you have a more thorough organize, and actually give your office desk a proper clean –  a good wipe down and polish!

This will mean you won’t have to eventually spend hours tidying it because it will stay consistently clean. Hopefully, it’ll become such a positive habit that you’ll never want a messy, dirty desk again.

Image courtesy of Andrew Seaman, via Flickr 2014.

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