Despite still being in the throes of summer, it’s easy to feel snowed under at work. Piles of paper and files and folders can quickly turn your desk into a no-work war-zone, where mugs and pens are lost for days under incomplete reports and un-filled in forms. But the longer you let your standards slide, the harder it’ll be to start afresh, clean your desk and get on with work. Efficiency is key – so this is how you should reorganise your work desk to unlock your maximum potential.
Clear all excess clutter
It’s a simple start, but the most effective way to begin. Gather up all the old documents and discarded water bottles, broken pens and old memos you can find and bin them. Your desk will begin to look cleaner in an instant. Next, take the larger folders and papers – but the ones you still need – and sort them into well-managed piles.
Arrange by order, by correspondence or by importance – but find an order. Then, use the drawers of your desk to safely stow your work away from your desktop. With your entire workload spread out in front of your eyes all day, it can be overwhelming, and stop you focusing on one individual task. This way, everything you need will be at hand, without pervading every second of your working day.
Tidy your trailing cords away
In a similar vein, trailing cords are the sort of visual annoyance that will nag you into idleness. You’ll begin subconsciously obsessing over how they make your desk look messy and are constantly in your eyeline. To remedy this, buy a cable tidy, and gather all your unsightly wires into one neat bunch.
On the subject of cords, why not go entirely wireless? There’s nothing sleeker than the wireless mouse and keyboard combo, and throw in a wireless phone for good measure. This way, there’ll be nothing to get tangled in, you’ll never lose your phone or accidentally pull your mouse off your desk and delete a day’s worth of emails. In short, there’ll be no more crossed wires.
Put everything you need within arm’s reach
If you use a highlighter on a frequent basis, you should have a pen pot with your highlighter in it close by. If you need to use a calculator most of the day at work, make sure it’s not in a drawer you have to open every time you need to crunch those numbers. If you print a lot of documents, invest in a small personal printer rather than traipsing to the fourth floor every time you need to collect a printout.
They’re simple ideas, but by keeping everything within an arm’s reach, you will save untold time and be much more efficient as the day goes on. There’ll be less awkward stretching across the desk, more time to focus on work, and you’ll soon realise how much time you were wasting frantically searching for everything from paperclips to a pencil sharpener.
Make several small, but thought-through, purchases
Obviously, as you’re clearing your desk, you don’t want to be recluttering it straight away again. However, there are certain purchases you can make – such as the aforementioned printer – which will streamline your office operation, make life behind the desk easier, and up your efficiency.
One such buy is a plant. Scientifically proven to improve mood at your desk, and give you the daily dose of oxygen into your office cubicle to keep your brain working through even the most mundane of tasks. Additionally, a coaster is a great addition to your set-up; it not only encourages you to drink more liquids to hydrate your brain, but will also mean that the days of forgetting where you mug is and spilling hot coffee everywhere are over.
Extend your desk-top clear up to your desktop
You’ve cleaned up your physical desk, but don’t stop there. Our virtual desktops, be it a laptop or a computer, can get just as cluttered as our office spaces, and the effect that they have on our day-to-day efficiency can be crippling.
So create some folders, delete those spreadsheets from 2009 you’ve had lingering on your hard drive and start afresh. External hard drives are great for this purpose – you can delete superfluous files from your workstation without getting rid of them forever, but you will speed your computer up and create an improved platform to even better work.