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Creative Ways to Organize Your Desk

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 5/11/2011

When working in any type of office, whether it be corporate or home, keeping an organized desk is essential to effective time management and productivity. In this article, learn some creative ways to organize your desk and how to make best use of your supplies.

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    Whether you're working in a cubicle within a corporate office or working out of your living room, keeping an organized desk space is essential to making sure that you are able to find those important meeting notes or that invoice that needs to be sent out. With the stresses of the work day, there may even be times where employees need to eat lunch at their desk or catch a quick cat nap.

    So, how does one keep their desk free from all the clutter that may pile up during the day? A well-organized desk, free from clutter is not hard to obtain. Follow these tips and creative ideas on how to organize your desk in the sections below.

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    Consequences of Clutter

    When you first got that job with the corner desk or first started working from home, your desk may have been a testament of the dedication, strive, and hours that you planned to put in for the days ahead. Perhaps this routine worked for several days, months, and even years. But slowly, and surely, the stresses of the day or the job began to take its toll and suddenly, you are now frantically looking for those project proposal notes you just wrote the day before, or that number of the perspective client you met at lunch earlier, or How to Organize Your Desk even the number for your doctor.

    These are some of the consequences of a messy desk - lost papers or files that may (or may not be) hovering around somewhere on your desk, the loss of important phone numbers, crumbs, dust, etc. For a work desk, these things can cause a hassle in getting your daily work done. Not only that, but it causes a distraction from your daily tasks. Instead of being able to pull up the meeting notes from your last meeting or presentation, you are now spending more time searching for those notes and presentation.

    There are ways to maintain the organization that you started with, along with keeping your time management skills, and getting back to what you need to do.

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    Step by Step

    These are a few tips on clearing up the clutter -

    • Begin to organize your desk area by taking everything off it and sorting through important files and office supplies; if you haven't cleaned the desk in a while, now is a good time to do so. Keeping a reminder to clean your desk will help you keep the clutter away and the desk clear.
    • If you have desk drawers, start assigning which papers are to go in which drawer. Current projects or important papers should go in the top drawer, along with frequently used office supplies, such as envelopes, stamps, staplers, paper clips, etc.
    • If you don't have desk drawers, consider purchasing item bins or a filing cabinet. There is also the ability to start a paperless office, which will put most, if not all, of your paper work on your computer or online. This can clear up your desk by getting rid of papers and documents.
    • If you work with a phone system, keep it on the opposite site of your preferred hand. For example, if you're right handed, keep your phone on the left hand side and vice versa. Also, keep a notebook or note pad nearby for quick note taking.
    • Try not to eat at your desk, as spilled drinks and food can not only cause clutter, but damage your computer components. If possible, go to a break room or take your lunch out of the office. If you can't, try eating away from your desk.
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    Getting Creative

    Your desk need not be just an area with a computer and a printer on it. There are many ways to keep organized, yet have a colorful and creative area. Here are some creative ways to organize a desk area; most of these items can be found at a local or online office supply shop like Staples or Office Max. For some really fun (and entertaining) gadgets, check out the office gadgets from Think Geek.

    • Use color when choosing pencil or pen holders, staplers, and other office supplies instead of the old metal or black ones.
    • Try keeping a stress reliever or something of fun for those times when you feel yourself starting to become overwhelmed.
    • There are several different gadgets that double as other things, such as portrait frames, alarm clocks, and planners.
    • Listening to online music may help reduce your stress levels. Several music players like Windows Media Player offer online radio stations or you can download Pandora, which is a player that allows for you to customize your radio stations. Depending where your office is in relation to your co-workers, make sure to have a pair of headphones or keep the volume low.
    • If you use a smart phone, there are many types of apps that you can download - depending on phone and service - that can help keep you on schedule. For example, the app Good Morning, which comes as part of some Android systems, allows users to set an alarm for the day or week. Both the free and paid versions have a voice that will wake you in the morning (or whenever you set your alarm), while the paid version has the option to state the appointments of the day.

    Make sure you know the policy for your company in regards to personal items on your desk. Some companies may only allow for a few pictures of family, while others may not allow for custom office supplies. Also make sure that you aren't getting distracted by the background music or fun gadgets you have around your desk. The purpose is to combine those essentials things with items that can bring color and organization to your desk and your job.

    Keeping your desk organized shouldn't be a chore, but something that is apart of your daily or weekly routine. This is also a good way to keep your files and documents organized, as well as getting rid of some of the unwanted clutter that can accumulate on a daily basis.

    Image content @ MorgueFile