How-to — Create a Calm and Professional Workspace in 3 Steps

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Does your desk look like this? Photo: Wikimedia.org

Does your desk look like this? Photo: Wikimedia.org

Guest blogger Jordan Reeves shares his easy and brilliant desk organization tips.

This probably looks familiar. No! It’s not a construction zone, it’s your desk. A mineable collection of paper clips, computer screens, ball point pens, dirty dishes and tchotchkes.

Of course, you think it’s efficient. You know exactly where everything is, and if you tidied it up, you wouldn’t be able to find that really important post-it that’s somewhere on your desk. It’s best to leave things just like they are. Just to clear the air, I decided to use my desk. Here’s what it looked like before:

desk before

Not too bad, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Where was my eye supposed to go? I was constantly looking all over the place. This space wasn’t helpful to me during stressful situations whether it was tight deadlines, a disgruntled boss or an urgent email. So I decided to do something about it.

Three Steps to a Cleaner, More Efficient Desk

desk1

1. Wipe the slate clean. Literally. Take everything off your desk and clean it with a cloth and some disinfectant. You’d be surprised how much cleaner you’ll feel after you do this.

desk2

2. Leave only the most essential elements on your desk. What is the bare minimum? Maybe it’s a notebook and a pencil cup. In my case, it’s my laptop and monitor. Now, sit down at your space and see how it feels. Is your monitor too far to the left of center? Arrange the essential items to work for you, not against you.

I decided to move my monitor to the right of center and leave my laptop in the middle. This made it seem less like I was trying to hide something when my boss or colleagues rounded the corner. Now, everyone can see what I’m working on (and that I’m actually working). It also allows me to take video calls on a moment’s notice. Since my camera is in my laptop, it’s in the center, so I am not turning my head all the time. You’ll find what works best for you. It may take a few arrangements until it feels just right.

desk3

3. Separate your spaces. Personal and professional. Maybe you have lots of personal things on your desk. Edit them down so that you can find what’s really important when you need it. Maybe it’s time to let go of the Michael Scott bobble head. It’s certainly OK to keep things that make you happy, but make sure your surface is functional and uncrowded. Also, try to keep your personal items out of the direct eyeshot of your colleagues. Of course this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but the more professional you keep your space, the more professional your colleagues will think you are.

If you deal with lots of paperwork, find a basket or a tray so that you can keep everything neatly stacked and together. If you never use the scotch tape, put it in the supply closet. Get rid of the scissors and the glue stick. When you actually need them, go get them from the copy room. Try to de-clutter the walls surrounding your desk so that when the pressure mounts, you can focus on the task at hand. Craziness and clutter create confusion — collectedness and cleanliness creates calm. Being organized is a skill that takes practice, but once you master it, you’ll feel 100 times more efficient.

desk4

This may be something you need to do on a monthly basis at first. It may be something you want to do on a daily basis. Whatever the case, make an organized and extremely efficient work space a habit.

 

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