Have you ever wondered how people keep their workspace organized and decluttered every day?
Modeling an organized workspace has not always been part of my daily routine. When I finally made the commitment to a paper-free office, I felt like 1000 pounds of weight was lifted off my shoulders!
Reflecting back to one of my pre-clutter-free days:
I had a super busy day mapped out with a to-do list that felt longer than I was tall!
But it was all good because I was fairly certain I could get it all done as long as I stayed hyper-focused and on-task.
Proud of myself for getting to my desk a few minutes earlier than normal (working from home has the added benefit of not needing to allow for commute time), until I sat down, got comfortable, and then looked at the mess I had left.
Grrrr … I forgot I had left my office in a rush the day before without doing my typical final sweep and end-of-day declutter.
[bctt tweet=”Set yourself up for a day of productivity by decluttering your workspace every day before you leave your office!” username=”drtawnaschmidt”]
Don’t let this be how you start your day!
Set yourself up for a day filled with massive productivity by putting the following guidelines into action today!
If your workspace needs an entire decluttering so you can start following these guidelines, hop over to the home office declutter checklist and you will have your office in tip-top shape in no time!
1 | Manage Paper Clutter
One of the worst types of clutter is paper clutter.
However, on the bright side, this is also one of the easiest types of clutter to get under control!
Papers lead to clutter and clutter leads to a messy workspace, which then leads to an unorganized workspace and days of unproductive use of your time.
Make it a habit to only touch a piece of paper one time. That first time either put it where it belongs, trash it, recycle it, or shred it. (If you don’t have a paper shredder, I highly recommend it for everyone!)
2 | Keep A Trash Can & Recycle Tray By Your Desk
If there is something on your desk that is trash, the best way to keep it from slowing down your workflow is to get rid of it – immediately. This keeps you from wasting time moving it out of your way over and over again.
The trash can should be as close to you as possible, again to save time from having to get up and down to get to it. Keep it in your mind that it should be within an arm’s reach.
If you train yourself to toss documents as soon as you know you don’t need them again, your desk clutter will decrease tenfold almost immediately. It’s almost impossible for your desk to get cluttered if you toss the trash the second you touch it.
My trash can is nestled up under my desk. It is an arm’s length away and out of sight so it isn’t noticeable when anyone walks into my office.
The same holds true for the documents that are trash that you prefer to recycle. A letter tray works great for these documents.
3 | Hide Wires & Chargers
Computer cords, chargers, and basically wires of any kind not only get in the way and slow down your productivity, but they are also distracting and unattractive to look at.
Definitely not the sign of an organized workspace!
The easiest way to get rid of the wires is to use wireless office accessories like a wireless mouse, headset, keyboard, etc.
Almost everything technology-related comes in a wireless option in today’s advanced world of computers!
If wireless is not an option there are a lot of clever products on the market that are specifically designed to hide the wires. There is also the option to use a docking station for your cell phone and even your computer if you use a laptop and a desktop.
No matter which method you use to create a cord-free workspace, it will make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of the environment.
4 | Give Everything On Your Desk A Home
Create a functional and clutter-free workspace by giving everything on your desk and in your desk drawers a home.
For example, if you are left-handed your pens and post-it note dispenser should be on your left side an arm’s reach away.
Your drawers need to be free of clutter and trash, and they need to be organized so the items are not randomly thrown into the drawer where they cannot be easily found.
When I was a substitute teacher years ago, I recall needing absentee or tardy slips and opening the classroom teacher’s desk drawer only to find it filled to the brim with random objects, paper, thumbtacks, etc. I could easily waste 10 minutes or more trying to find one little form that the classroom teacher specifically told me was in the top right-hand drawer! This is definitely not the sign of an organized workspace!
A great way to keep desk drawers orderly is with a drawer organizer. You can find all different sizes with compartments in various sizes and layouts.
5 | Stop Stockpiling Supplies
You don’t need 97 pencils and 101 pens!
You also don’t need three different sizes of post-it notes in four different colors!
If you have a paperless office you don’t need a stapler on your desk, and chances are that you don’t use a hole punch daily either (maybe not even monthly!)
The point being that you may have multiple office supplies but that doesn’t mean every single one needs to be reachable within arm’s length.
If you have an abundance of any item get rid of what you aren’t using. Part of the decluttering process is to get rid of unnecessary duplicate items.
Not sure what to do with the extra supplies?
[bctt tweet=”Donate duplicate office supplies to a preschool, school, daycare, or church!” username=”drtawnaschmidt”]
Consider donating them to a school, church, etc.
6 | Quit Eating At Your Desk
I have to work hard to follow this guideline!
It just seems natural to grab a quick sandwich and walk back to my desk to continue working on a project.
It took me years to admit to myself this is anything but productive and although I am not a messy eater, it didn’t do anything to help my workspace stay clean.
Your desk is not a cafeteria, kitchen, or dining room. It was not made to have a meal.
Along the same lines, be sure to clear coffee cups, empty (or not) water bottles, soda cans, etc. from your desk as soon as you are finished with them.
I recall numerous times waking up to a sink full of coffee mugs that appeared out of nowhere, then would find out my husband had them all at work and finally brought them home. Grrrrr…!
I can’t imagine what his workspace looked like, but I am guessing it did not follow the guidelines I layout here! 😆
7 | Declutter Your Desk Before You Leave For The Day
The best way to have a productive day is to start it off productive and never break your workflow.
If you start your day decluttering your workspace from yesterday’s work, you are already behind before you ever get started!
Everything in your office has a home, so put it there before you leave for the day! And if everything doesn’t have a home you need to find it one or get rid of it!
Do a clean sweep of your desk and put everything in its place. If the trash is full, empty it. If there are papers laying on your desk you need for the next day, make a home for them so you know exactly where they are when you get to work the next morning.
Clear Your Mind By Creating An Organized Workspace
A clean and clutter-free workspace gives you a clear mind that offers the maximum benefit of working productively the entire day.
Each of the tasks on this list takes seconds throughout the day. However, if they are left undone for even a couple of days it can translate into an hour or even hours of work getting back on track.
What Has Worked For You To Organize Your Workspace?