Do Something! Find the surface of your desk

Your desk is PRIME real estate – the most prime real estate in your office. Anything that’s kept on your desk should be something that’s used daily.

  • Move non-work items (photos, mementos, etc.) off of the desk.
  • Keep office supplies in drawers or on shelves where they’re within reach but not cluttering up your desk.
  • Make use of vertical space – hang shelves or wall pockets or bulletin boards to keep control of those ‘important’ papers that regularly pile up on your desk and keep important reference information or reminders in view without interfering with your work.

Don't keep shuffling paper around on your desk; make a decision about what to do with it; if it needs action, schedule it and then put the file or paper away. If all you need to do is review it and bill for the review, do it right away and then file it. Make it a habit when mail arrives to get rid of as much as you possibly can immediately.

Cure yourself of "I need to see it syndrome." Keeping file on or pile of work to be done on your desk as your physical reminder that you have work to accomplish is not an efficient way to work. Rid yourself of the idea that if you don't see something it won't get done. When files and piles remain on your desk or in your office for any length of time, they become 'wallpaper.' You get so used to seeing them that you don't 'see' them at all any more, and their effectiveness as reminders disappears.

Use calendars, tickler systems and master lists to keep track of work to be done. Rather than letting work, mail, files, etc. pile up endlessly, use these tools to keep track of work that needs to be done. As you're de-cluttering, keep your calendar handy, and enter appointments to perform the work and tasks that are represented by the files and papers on your desk. Put upcoming dates for events, education programs, etc. into your schedule with necessary information and toss the flyer. Or if you haven't made a decision about attending, decide when you can make that decision and enter the information or the flyer into your tickler system, but get that invitation off of your desk!

Prune your periodicals. That pile of periodicals or articles that you intend to get to, but never manage to read doesn't belong on your desk, either.

Delegate whenever possible. If something has been sitting on your desk forever, chances are that it's either not important or it's something you dread. If you can let it go completely, do so. If not, see if you can delegate the task to someone else, even if you have to outsource it.

Take 15-30 minutes and find the surface of your desk. Take everything off and go through it, making a decision right away whether to toss it, delegate it, schedule it or keep it on your desk. Only keep those things on your desk that you are going to do first thing next week, or that you need to do your work on a daily basis.

Have questions? I’m here to help.

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