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A clean and organized desk can make a worker more efficient and productive

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A clean and organized desk

A workers desk can say a lot about them – even when they are not at their desk.

Not sure? Ask coworkers what they think when they see a certain person’s desk. That will give a good indication of how perceptions are formed by an organized or unorganized desk.

Too many toys can be distractive and make others think they are dealing with someone immature.

Too many vacation photos can indicate a desire to be somewhere else. Maybe even when that worker is on the job.

A clean desk is good. A sterile desk is creepy. Keep it real.

A million sticky notes lose their impact – and indicate a lack of technology skills.

Easy to say, harder to do. What are the best practices for keeping a desk organized, efficient, and effective? Here are a few tips:

· Get rid of unused pens and pencils. Everyone has a favorite type of pen and/or pencil, and they usually have a few of them in a desk drawer. Somehow, every month, a dozen other types appear. They won’t get used, so take them to the supply cabinet. Otherwise it is just clutter. Less clutter is one step closer to an organized desk.

· Have a place for pocket stuff. Car keys, cell phone, a wallet, bluetooth ear piece, etc. should all have a home. Not scattered across the desktop. An ideal setup is to keep them in a drawer with wires already run for charging the various items. Having the charging right there so they do not have to be hunted is organized and efficient.

· Proximity based on frequency of use. This is the key organization tip for any type of organizing. Something that is used every day should be closer than something used only a couple of times each week. This is common sense, but it is easy to arrange a desk for aesthetics instead of usefulness. Items located closer based on the probability of use will save time and energy by not having to be moved around.

· Move peripheral electronics out of sight. A cable modem, wireless router, firewall, battery backup, etc. shouldn’t be on top of a desk. Even if there is physical room it introduces visual clutter. Once again, cutting down on clutter reduces the amount of work between an unorganized and an organized desk. This tip can go a long way toward making a desk and office a much nicer place to work.

· Easy to access files. Without moving or getting up, a worker needs to be able to grab an unused manila folder, label it and put it in a file cabinet. Easy filing is one of the most important organization tips. The more effort it requires to file, the more difficult it will be to stay organized.

· Scanning documents. Instead of keeping important documents in paper format, use the scanner to create and store PDF files on a computer or a network drive. If the scanner has an OCR option, that can make the documents searchable. There will be some decision making regarding what to scan and what to file. Either way, keeping papers off the desk is an important part of desk organization.

· Cleaning supplies. Keeping an organized desk clean helps maintain the organization. Cleaning a desktop is part of that organization – you can’t clean a cluttered mess. Have a scheduled time each week to wipe down the desktop. Part of that routine will force things to be filed, tossed, etc. It is all about making things as easy as possible.

· Scratch notepad. During the course of the work day, there will be notations regarding telephone numbers, names, addresses, order confirmations, etc. Workers who can keep these all in one place are far more productive than if they need to look something up later. By keeping a notebook specifically for these types of items, search time is reduced.

· Organize those wires. It is easy to have half a desk covered with wires for various pieces of electronics. Moving some stuff off of the desktop can help. Some pieces of Velcro wrapped around wires can go a long ways toward cleaning things up. Also make sure that wires that are long enough to tuck out of the way. Sometimes wireless is an option.

· Make good use of drawer space. Many workers have several shelves next to their desk, but use them poorly. The shelves are half full of items seldom used. As a result, the desktop becomes cluttered. Sort through useless junk and discard. Only keep what is really needed. Making optimal use of space will lead o greater efficiency.

· Lighting. Make sure to have enough light on or near the desk. A bright work area is easier to keep clean than a dark one. Not to mention more productive.

· Organize and stay organized. It is more efficient to stay organized instead of trying to do it all at the end. Workers who constantly keep their desk neat are always better off. If it gets disorganized in the middle of a big project, take small steps. Clear and organize a little each day. Making a small effort toward organization may not seem like much, but it will keep things headed in the right direction.

Positive words and actions still speak the loudest, but they'll have less impact if a workspace sends a conflicting message. It’s worth a few minutes to make sure the desk is an effective envoy for professional abilities and results.

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