10 Tips to Keep Your Desk Clean, Organized & Productive

Organized Desk

Is your desk a mess?

Do you return to more clutter than you remember leaving in the first place?

Don’t let your messy workplace impede your ability to get your work done.

Here are 10 tips to keep your desk clear of clutter and ready for work.

Cleanliness = Productivity

Keeping your desk clean is key to being able to get your work done.

Despite the excuses that some will give, piles are not organization. And a messy workspace isn’t conducive to being productive.

“If your desk is a mess, you don’t have space to work, nor any room for creativity.”

When inspiration or motivation hits, you don’t want to be searching for space to set down your important work or fighting back the flood of stuff on your desk.

Here are 10 Tips to Help You Keep Your Desk Clean and Organized:

  1. Designate a Physical Inbox – We all have too many email inboxes, yet many people no longer have a physical one on their desk. You need one place for incoming papers to reside. Otherwise, they will scatter all over the existing documents on your desk.
  2. Have a Trash Can Within Reach – If you have to get up from your desk to reach the trash, then it is too far away. (Nor do you want to be playing trashcan paper toss…) Make sure that you can easily and quickly reach the trash from your chair.
  3. Minimize Incoming Paper – Stop that incoming paper flood, or at least minimize it to the extent possible. Eliminate unnecessary subscriptions, reduce the number of paper reports and memos. If you don’t need something in hard copy, then stop it from coming to your desk.
  4. Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter – Do you need all those knickknacks and office accessories laying all over your desk? Unless they serve a purpose, get them off your work surface. You don’t have to go to the extreme of creating a sterile workspace, but if you are not using it, move it off your desk.
  5. Schedule Regular Cleaning Time – If you have not cleaned your desk in a month, it could take you a few hours to tidy it up. However, if you do it daily, it should only take a few moments. Avoid compounding your organizing time by scheduling a designated time each day.
  6. Never Put Trash Down – Whether it is a piece of paper or a food wrapper, never set trash down. Get in the habit of holding it in your hand until you can reach your trash can. (See #2) You don’t want to put trash on your desk and forget about it. As well, that half-empty soda is an accident waiting to happen.
  7. Take a Picture – Do you have items on your desk that are simply for reference? A battery or ink cartridge that you need to replace? Or a clipping or article? Instead of leaving these items on your desk, take a picture with your smartphone. You will be more likely to have your phone with you when you need to reference the item.
  8. When in Doubt, Throw It Out – You will never need 99% of the papers that you are saving. When in doubt, throw it out. If you truly need a hard copy, make sure you have a filing system to put it where you will know where to locate it.
  9. Scan It– Is the price of a scanner worth the peace and organization it will bring? Yes! Clear that paper clutter, by scanning it into soft copy or PDF. Here is my favorite scanner via Amazon.
  10. Clean It Before You Leave It – If your boss were to come to your desk after you departed for the day, would you be proud of what he or she would see? One of the best times to clean your desk is the end of the day. It brings closure to your work day and sets you up for a clean start tomorrow.

Keep it Clean

An organized work area helps you get more done.

It starts by giving you space to actually work, instead of stacking new work on top of old papers.

Keep your desk clean and improve your productivity.

Question: Do you keep your desk clean or are you constantly working among clutter? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

121 thoughts on “10 Tips to Keep Your Desk Clean, Organized & Productive

  1. I found it interesting when you said to always put trash in the trash can instead of your desk. I’m trying to keep my desk at my new job clean so I can be more efficient and meet my monthly quotas. Your tips will help me be more efficient and enjoy being at work more.

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  3. Well noticed! A proper organized working place has a strong positive effect on productivity, as it reduces the level of distraction. That’s a lesson I learned a couple of years ago when realized my productivity level significantly decreased. What worked well for me, was minimizing incoming papers, and terminating unnecessary subscriptions. Thanks for your insight!

  4. Thank you for sharing these tips. I will remember the one about “holding anything” in your hand until finding trash.

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