From the writer’s desk

I spend more and more time at my desk these days doing everything from editing photographs, studying towards a Diploma in Copywriting, to working on this blog. Because of this, my workspace is constantly changing and holding desk clutter at bay can be challenging.

Organizing a workspace

Organizing a workspace should make it conducive to productivity. This often means eliminating too many visual distractions. A few photos and notes hanging by your desk can make your work area more pleasant, but too many can be distracting! Create a place for every item you need and use, and put things back in their allotted place after use. Give yourself plenty of surface space for tasks because working in a squeeze can be very unpleasant. If you spend up to 7 hours (or more) at your desk each day, you really should aim to feel comfortable.

How I manage to keep my desk space tidy

I prefer to keep only a few quality items on my desk which serve multiple purposes over a stockpile of things which may look pretty but are rarely used.

Things I keep within easy reach:

  • Desk tidy.
  • Cup coaster (handy for keeping coffee spills from damaging the desk’s surface).
  • Telephone.
  • Camera (usually kept on my desk for capturing images for my blog)
  • Dictaphone (for recording random thoughts and ideas).
  • Tissue box.
  • Dictionary.

I keep a notepad in my top drawer and it’s easy accessible if I need to record ideas and telephone messages, etc.

My mobile phone is also kept in a drawer (along with its charger) which prevents me becoming distracted.

All other home office essentials, e.g. files, printing paper, replacement printer ink, etc, are stored away tidy inside drawers and cupboards.

The benefits of keeping your desk space tidy

  • Reduced clutter = reduced stress. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to work when your desk is in a mess.
  • Improves efficiency. When you know where everything is, it is much easier to accomplish tasks, plus you will never waste valuable time having to hunt for a pen or your phone charger ever again!
  • Creates a good impression if you have visitors or clients drop by unexpectedly. First impressions are really important and if your visitor sees your desk spilling over with mess and clutter, this could give the impression you are a sloppy individual. Such could raise questions in their mind regarding your work ethos and professionalism and worse case scenario, could even cost you business!
  • Improves desk space security. Paperwork is less likely to be on full view for prying eyes.
  • Creates a safe working environment. Books stacked up on the floor beside your desk or cables stretching across your work space are a health and safety hazard. When they are safely tidied away, this creates more working space plus a safer working environment for yourself and others.

At the end of the working day, I take a little time to tidy my desk to keep it organized. This only takes a few moments. Why? Because I’ve been tidying up as I go along. This has yet another benefit, i.e. I don’t have to face a messy desk the next day which feels really good mentally.

One bite at a time

All this sounds like a bit of an effort to begin with, but it really isn’t. Let’s tackle this this ‘elephant’ together breaking it down into bite sizes and making it easier to swallow, e.g.

  • Aim to tidy one drawer or cupboard per day until they are all organized.
  • Store away any items that don’t need to take up space on your desk.
  • Return items to their allotted place straight after use. This only takes seconds and with a little practice will become a really good habit.
  • File a few pieces of paperwork each day until your bundle of paperwork is completely whittled away. Don’t worry if it takes a month or two—or more—you’re not in a race. Do try to set a date limit to get this task completed however and promise yourself a small treat for doing so—this will give you an incentive to complete (not to mention how good you’re going to feel about yourself when you do finally finish this task).

In good time you’ll end up having a safe, well-organized and easy to maintain workspace. Good job!

Coming soon: Christmas 2020 Survival Guide

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