Last time I shared some general ideas for organizing your desk: how to take a backhoe to the disaster area many call their paperwork “home.” Here, in Part 2, I want to dig down with ideas for the problem areas which might be getting in the way of being productive or denying you the satisfaction of having a clear workspace.
Here are three ideas to try (not necessarily original to me, but worth repeating, I hope):
1) A proliferation of sticky notes. One, two or three well-placed notes might work, but once they cover every surface or frame your computer screen, they stop serving their purpose—to bring information to your IMMEDIATE attention. They are ALL crying out to you! Or maybe by now, NONE are getting through to you at all.
As an alternative, set up EverNote, OneNote, or another note-taking app to provide a home for all of these bits of information, searchable and synced to all of your devices. An easier alternative is simply a searchable Word file in which you can set up a page for each category–such as books to read, resources, restaurants, etc.– that you can search when the need arises.
2) The perennial junk drawer. Do you get frustrated “whittling away” at a desk junk drawer? First, reflect on the name: junk drawer. If the contents are truly junk maybe it’s time to simply dump the whole thing! Another approach is to dump the drawer and allow back in ONLY those things that are useful to you at your desk. Dispose of or find other homes for the items left behind
3) Visual clutter. Family pictures and badges from past conferences are common office décor. But look more closely. Is too much of a good thing creating a sense of overwhelm when you enter your office or sit down at your desk? Do you yearn for at least one clear surface, horizontal or vertical? If so, be selective about what surrounds you. Make sure each item is uplifting, joyful, motivating, and fun for your eyes. A selective few images and messages are more effective than a mish-mash that you no longer even notice.