Can You See Your Desktop?

When you hear the words desktop organizing do you have visions of small icons arranged tidily on your computer screen? Put aside the image of your virtual desktop and take a minute to asses your actual desktop. If you see heaps of papers and pens and binder clips strewn about willy-nilly you're not alone. Ditto for those of you whose computer screens are partially blocked by coffee mugs and post-it notes. Time for some desktop tidying. And no, its not gong to be painful or time-consuming. So fill up that empty coffee mug with some java and let's get to it.

We have eight easy steps to get that desk in tiptop shape.

Create a Blank Slate:
Remove everything from your desk. We're starting with a nice, blank slate. Place your phone on your left if you're right handed and on the right if you're left handed. Move personal items such as framed photos or children's arts and crafts to your shelves.

Say No to Excessive Post-Its:
Use post-its sparingly so they catch your eye, not obscure your monitor. Keep a notebook by the phone. Jot down phone messages or notes here. This should be your go to for to-do lists. Delete your answering machine messages after transcribing the important details.

Files, Not Piles:
Many of you organize by piling; that's fine, just try to move them off the desktop and onto a side table. Your workspace on your desk should have no more than an inbox, with three racks, one holding items not yet reviewed, one for items on hold that you have reviewed and need to act upon soon and a third for items that you need on a daily basis over the short term. Documents that don't fall into one of thee three categories should be placed in permanent files or tossed.

Keep Blank File Folders and a Label Maker at Your Desk:
People too often fail to file because they don't have folders and labels handy. With a stack of blank folders and label maker within reach, you have no excuse.

Keep on your desk, next to the phone. Make it your right-hand man, using it to keep track of to-dos, follow-ups and ideas.

One Drawer/One Box Rule:
Keep office supplies in one drawer only. Buy a dozen of your favorite, inexpensive pens and keep them in a cutlery tray in the drawer. Keep back-up supplies in a clear storage box. And say no to junk; free cups and pens and other do-dads are distracting clutter.

Eat Elsewhere:
Salt and pepper packets and plastic utensils filling your drawers? Make a habit of eating away from your desk: this keeps trash from piling up and provides a needed break away from your work. Eat in the break room or better yet out of the office.

Ten Minute Cleanup:
Take a quick overview of your desk at the end of each day, throwing away trash and fling papers. Place tomorrow's top priority project in the center of your desk. You (and your desk) are ready for the new day!



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