Time Management Tips To Get Control of a Messy Desk

These time management tips are designed to help you clear your desk and keep it clear. Have a look at your desk; what sort of state is it in, can you find everything you need, do you have an in-desk as opposed to in-trays? Research shows that most people spend at least 30 minutes to an hour a day looking for things.

But it’s not just time you lose in keeping a messy desk. Many people notice their levels of productivity and motivation suffers as a result of their chaotic surroundings.

If you feel as though your disorganised desk is causing you to lose precious time, these time management tips may help to regain some control.

Develop a minimalist attitude

It can seem perfectly rational to have everything laid out on your desk. But do you really need 10 pens, 6 notepads, 20 receipts and a stack load of unopened mail cluttering up your workspace?

Only put out the things you need to use each day. Does your desk have drawers? Use them to store your odd bits of stationery and anything else you don’t use daily. For additional space, invest in some storage units or office shelving.

If you are a bit of a hoarder, it’s time to get really strict. Practice this mantra daily; ‘store it, trash it or shred it’, as it will help you to take decisive action to keep your desk clutter free.

De-clutter regularly

Once you’ve gotten your desk to a tidy state, you want to keep it that way. You’ll want to devise a plan for de-cluttering your space on a regular basis. That could mean setting some time aside at the end of each week to reorganise your desk space or tidying up as you go along.

Whatever systems you choose make sure it is manageable and something you can incorporate into your work ritual.

Go paperless

It’s not an easy feat going paperless, but with some planning and increased awareness it will soon feel like second nature. There are a few tricks to using less paper in the office.

Ask people to send you documents and contracts via email, that way you can e-sign them, keeping your desk clear from unnecessary paperwork. Similarly with bills, bank statements and invoices you have the option to receive e-copies.

Getting rid of the existing paperwork on your desk is also very straightforward. You can either scan or arrange for these to be scanned into your computer.

Develop a practice of printing less. The next time you receive an email, think carefully about whether you really need to have a hard copy.

Deal with digital clutter

Many of us are guilty of allowing our computers to become littered with files or programs we no longer use. By creating identifiable folders and deleting old items, you will reduce the time spent searching for things.

The same goes for emails. Develop a system whereby you action all incoming emails and then delete them from your inbox. When you think about it there really is no need to keep old emails anyway. They are just the delivery system prompting you to take action on the contents.

If you need to keep an email for audit trail purposes, then create a separate email folder and move it to there. Make a note to only keep such items for a certain amount of time before deleting them permanently.

While these time management tips will help you to reorganise a messy desk, the key to maintaining order is to exercise consistency in your approach. Just think of that extra 30 minutes you’ll be able to claw back each day!

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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4 thoughts on “Time Management Tips To Get Control of a Messy Desk

  1. Clutter on the desk is indicative of clutter in the mind! As a very creative person, I am always dealing with organizing my thoughts and my desk! My favorite quote on this: “It’s a lot easier getting out of something, than back into it” – that’s how it works with the mess on your desk, and those extra pounds as well!