You may very well spend more time at your desk than in your own bed. For us long- hour-clocking, hardworking young professionals (YPs), it is important to make the most out of our workstations. Of course, many people live in a state of organized chaos and that messy desk just may work for you. But other times, it can cause stress as you waste time and decrease productivity while you frantically search through all those papers, receipts and sticky notes for that one containing the information that you need. Here are some pointers.
Treat your desk like your car; don’t be a slob
Do you have a habit of accumulating coffee cups, food wrappers or other waste at your desk? Picture your mother’s voice telling you to pick up after yourself. Make a general rule to use just that one particular coffee cup and wash it by hand after each use. Avoid eating at your desk to stay away from the inevitable crumbs. Have a mini garbage can under the desk so that wrappers, pen packages and other waste does not have the chance to build up. Finally, make a routine of cleaning the desk at the end of the week on Friday.
Have a place for everything
Make sure each desk essential has a designated home. The contents of each drawer don’t need to be completely organized, but it may help if they housed the same type of desk staple – whether that means cords, phone and iPod chargers; paperwork and other work-related documents; personal documents; magazines; or pens, notepads and highlighters. This avoids the ever-common black hole drawer of anything and everything.
Keep a notepad for chicken scratch
During the course of the day, we are thrown all sorts of information, facts, figures, names, order confirmations, flight numbers and email addresses. You may have already developed a habit of scribbling away at anything you can get your hands on – envelopes, random paper and even the brown bag your bagel came in. If you can keep these precious tidbits of information all in one place (i.e. a notebook), you’ll avoid a potential scramble for them when the need strikes.
Place things frequently used in close proximity
A key organizational tip is to consider proximity based on frequency of use. Things that you use every day should be more accessible than those you may use only a few times a week, if at all. Furthermore, if you are right-handed, keep your pens and phone on the right side, and have your trusted notebook beside it.
Have a picture that makes you smile…but limit the photos
A desk full of personal photographs not only clutters, but can be distracting. Be selective in your choice of photos that decorate your workstation. Workdays can be stressful, but very little good comes from getting all worked up about it. Have a picture that transports you back to that special place and makes you happy and calms your mind – whether of a spectacular sunset, your cottage, your family or a pet.
Have a quote or mantra in sight
At times, it is easy to lose sight of goals, objectives and meanings if we are not glaringly reminded of them on a daily basis. A quote or mantra in constant view serves as a reminder of why you are there in the first place and helps to ensure your thoughts stay grounded.
Is it time for you to give your desk a little spring makeover?