For people who spend those hours cooped up in a prison of disorderly paperwork, Post-It notes and pens, desk-time might as well be jail-time. Clutter can cause us to feel trapped as it builds up, greatly interrupting our workflow and peace of mind.
So whether you sit in a cubicle or work from home, it's worth putting in the effort to free yourself from the mess and organize your way to productivity paradise.
To help you dig your way to a better workspace, we called on a bona fide de-clutter therapist, Margarita Ibbott, for a little clutter Rx:
1. Set a Timeline. First, make the commitment to makeover your desk and stick to it like you would a doctor's appointment. You'll need a minimum of three to four hours to complete the project.
2. Have a Vision. Before you start anything, decide what you want to do with your space and let it evolve from there. Ask yourself what function you need that space to serve and how you'll achieve it.
3. Go Pile by Pile. Get a few bins or set aside areas and label them Keep, Let Go, Recycle andTrash. Work clockwise or counter-clockwise around your desk and go through each pile, drawer and penholder one at a time. Put items in your piles before you put them back in place and put like items together.
4. Use Your Real Estate. Think of your desk in terms of what is essential to have on the desk, what you use daily, weekly and only occasionally. Supplies used daily or weekly could be placed in organized drawers close to your desk. Items that are only used occasionally could be stored somewhere else (in a closet, bank box or filing cabinet).
5. Find a Process. What will you do when new bills arrive? How will you organize your paperwork on a regular basis? Paperwork and other clutter will pile up if there isn't a plan. Use colour-coded file folders and magazine holders to keep your paperwork organized. Margarita recommended using a digital scanner, such as NeatReceipts, so that you can go paperless without losing the information.
We guarantee that with space to think and work, you'll actually enjoy being at your desk as much as you enjoy bedtime. Just stay with it.
As Margarita reminded us, everything has a place and everything in its place.
Margarita Ibbott is owner of Downshifting: Professional Organizing Solutions in London, Ontario. For more of her organizing ideas, check out www.downshifting.ca.
tuja writer, Meghan, did a 'virtual consultation' with Margarita over Skype and used her own desk to test out Margarita's tips. Check out the 'before & after' that Meghan achieved on her own after her online consultation.