How to keep your desk tidy

Do you think it is important to keep a tidy desk? Is there any correlation between creativity, productivity and the mess on your desk? Many will say that a messy desk is a display of originality and a good imagination. This is of course an excuse. The reality is most will associate a cluttered desk with disorganisation.

Did you know that a messy desk can actually make you sick? In a survey carried out years ago, researchers at NEC-Mitsubishi questioned 2000 workers and found that many suffered from “Irritable Desk Syndrome” (IDS). IDS is caused by working for long periods of time at a messy desk, often with poor posture, the combination of which can have physical and mental symptoms such as chronic pain and a decrease in productivity.

6 Tips to Keep a Tidy Desk

1. Paper
Devise a system to deal with paper as this is one for the main things that can make your desk appear messy. Filing is a good solution. You could try to create trays or files and divide your correspondence into Urgent and To Do for example. If there are papers you need to keep for the record then ensure you have a method and organised filing system for dealing with these and put them away immediately.

2. Post-Its
Post its are a wonderful invention and can be super useful, yet, they clutter a desk .There is of course also the danger that they somehow get lost. Put these away and write down any reminders in a notebook.

3. Stationery
It is too easy to leave stationery lying around. Put your pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers etc away when you are not using them. Keep then in a tidy container or box. Take this opportunity to go throw your “collection”. Do you really need 26 black pens? Reduce your stationery to a minimum. Only keep what you need.

4. Freebies
Most of us like freebies. Resist the temptation to grab free stuff at conferences as chances are you don’t really need those stickers or that postcard. Just say No!

5. Clear
When you have finished working on something put it away until you need it again. This will prevent mountains of paper piling up. It also ensures you are not surrounded and distracted by half completed projects.

6. Calendar
Keep one “to do” calendar/list so that you know exactly where you are with your tasks. This means you will no longer feel the need to have a visual daily reminder of the projects that you are working written all over the place.

Remember that everything should have its place and you should have a place for everything.

Is your desk tidy? Do you think that a messy desk is a reflection of a messy mind?

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Written by Ana Antunes da Silva.

Image provided by Flickr user orphanjones.

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