7 Simple Steps to Clear Your Desk and Your Mind
Look around your office and your desk. What do you see?
If you’re like most people, you’ll see files, pads of paper, and random papers arranged in a solitaire formation (I’ve seen it!) You also might see a collection of business cards arranged in a fan formation or perhaps they’re in rubber-banded stacks. In addition, you might have the typical office supplies used during your day spread out around your desk like pens, pencils, paper clips, staplers, post-it notes and more.
Do you ever feel like these accumulations are closing in on you? Do you ever feel eternally slowed down or stuck in information traffic? It’s hard to make powerful progress when you’re sifting through things and papers, constantly looking for what you need and forgetting where you were.
Your desk might need a Desk Detox and afterwards, the distractions, stress and anxiety might disappear with all the clutter. Then your focus can increase, along with your progress and productivity, allowing you to get more accomplished every day!
Here are 7 Simple Steps you can follow today and every day to enjoy refreshing, open space on your desk and the new ideas and opportunities it can bring.
1. Keep making decisions
Clutter represents un-made decisions so when you continue to make decisions throughout your day on the information and things you receive, you’ll continue to move things along, without letting things stall.
2. Get it together
All files, documents, little slips of paper, post-it notes and other miscellaneous reminders should be gathered into one pile and reviewed one at a time to determine the nature and importance of the information.
3. Be ready for action
Prioritizing is difficult when you’re surrounded by mountains of paper, phone messages, and Post-It Notes® all looking or feeling equally important. Fortunately, not all files or papers have to be left out or spread out in your immediate workspace for tasks to be remembered or completed. When you find something that represents an action, task, to do or reminder, add it to your Outlook Task list or a similar program so you can start prioritizing what you need to do and eliminate the papers representing these actions.
4. Create an action station
All papers and files with actions associated with them that can’t be thrown away yet (after you’ve added the task and its details to your e-Task list) should be kept in a vertical sorter on your desk or nearby surface. This will help keep your workspace free from clutter and things will be within reach when you’re ready to start working on them.
5. Add information to calendar and contact systems A.S.A.P.
When you find papers or notes about upcoming appointments, events or trips, these should be added to your e-Calendar. And if you find business cards and other sources of contact information for people you want to stay in touch with, add them to your e-Contact system. Then throw away all those little slips of paper… and the business cards!
6. Use files, not piles
The reference material you may have found in this process that will be useful someday may be filed away using a file name you will remember. Start your file tab with a noun (literally what it is), follow with adjectives and then use categories and subcategories for groups of files.
7. Be your own office supply retailer
Remove random office supplies from your desk surface and put them in a handy drawer in your desk, using a drawer organizer with divisions. If you have multiples of all kinds of office supplies, then choose your favorites: stapler, calculator, paperclips, pens, pencils, highlighters, etc. Put the rest away in a bin or box on a closet shelf or other storage area and when you’re ready to get more office supplies, use these first before buying anything else.
In the end… question everything.
Now look around your desk? Did you question everything? You may not see things easily because you see them every day and now they’re invisible. But there may be one or two things that don’t belong or may need a new home. Any visible clutter on your desk or elsewhere in your office can cause undue stress and burden on your mind even though you try to convince yourself otherwise. Now it’s time to check the rest of your office and do an office detox!
Need help with an “Office Detox?” Sign up today for a Productive Day Power Hour Strategy Session and get a plan in place, plus lots of valuable tips and next steps you can take… starting today! Check out the details here: Productive Day Power Hour.