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Steps to a permanently clear desk: Once upon a time there was a desk, a very happy desk, but like all heroes, the desk had a nemesis. It's name was Clutter!

Now here is a subject I can jump into. While my desk probably isn't as bad as others, I do walk by co-worker's desk which seem to be very clean and neat and organized. Mine isn't dirty (that much) or unorganized, it's occupied. Thankfully, I don't have to go rummaging through piles of paper looking for a Post It Note with scrobbles, but the look of my desk definitely "In Use".

For people who do work with mountains of paper, a desk can easily be cluttered with all the projects and tasks your currently working on and the dozens of things your not currently working with such as post-its, phone numbers, papers to be filed and stacks of stuff to work on later and always too busy to organize it.

However, a cluttered desk is a time waster when you spend ten minutes looking for something that is essentially only a small (though important) piece of the project puzzle. If you are unorganized, you risk missing dead lines, meetings and you take the chance of paying bills late and incurring a late charge.

Many people are not utilizing they're computers nearly as much as they could. A software for virtually every file management system exist and can co-exist with your physical papers.

Make your desk a timesaver not a time waster.

Get four boxes, the kind of boxes doesn't matter as long as they're big enough to hold large files.

Current Project / Need Immediate Attention

Needs Attention

Not Sure

Throw away

1. First, Go through your "piles" and place into one of the four above categories. Go through all of your papers spending only a few seconds on each paper, note and folder. The only box that you should be sure of is the Throw Away. Once it is thrown away it's gone. On the other hand, make sure not to keep every single little bit of paper. If need be, record the note in your Outlook Notes (or similar program).

2. Go through each box and process this pile from the top down. Never re-sort, never skip a single piece of paper, never put a piece of paper back on the desk. Do what needs to be done with that paper, and then move on to the next in the box from 1 to 4.

3. Once you have sorted, organized and given a priority or thrown away the junk - Repeat at least once a week to keep desk clear.

It's that simple. Have a phone number on a post-it? Don't leave it on top of your desk. File it in your computer contacts program. Have something you need to work on later? Don't keep the papers on top of your desk. Put it on your to-do list, preferably in your Outlook (or similar software program) and file the papers in your Current folder. Save what you can on your computer and throw away the physical paper(s). Don't forget to back up to the company network or just save a copy of your files. If you don't know how to do this, ask a computer technician.

Leaving stuff on top of your desk is procrastination. If you put it off until later, things will be sure to pile up on your desk and you'll waste time. From now on, everything that comes in must go in your in a basket.

Current Project / Need Immediate Attention

Needs Work

Not Sure / Need Answers

Waste Paper basket - Throw away

"My friend," said Clutter, "it is the nature of my species to be subtle and venomous. The slaying of my hard work at causing chaos in your life is fresh upon my recollection; and be it known that if you lapses, I shall be back again."

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