When your desktop starts to groan under the weight of the junk on it, it's time to evaluate how frequently you actually use the things strewn across it.
Photo by Johan Larsson.
While some people end up with a desk that is just messy and littered with empty soda cans and food wrappers, most of us tend to end up more with work related clutter on our desks. Things get taken out and not put away and maybe they were never put away to begin with. We miscalculate how long we might need something and so it stays on our desk for weeks without being used on the off chance that we'll need to use it again so why would we bother with the hassle of storing it somewhere else?
Over at the Harvard Business Review, our own Gina Trapani shares some tips for maximising your workplace productivity including the importance of only putting things of immediate utility on your desk:
Split your workspace tools and current paperwork into two categories: what should be within arm's reach and what shouldn't. Right now, as you sit at your desk, consider every single item that you can reach out and touch. Is there anything you use less than a few times a week? Get it out of your way. (Hint: If it's dusty, it doesn't need to be there.) Is there anything you use often that's not right nearby? Relocate it to the space right in front of you. For example, if you rarely use the hole punch, store it in the office supplies drawer. If you're always jotting things down, a fresh notepad and uncapped pen should be next to your mouse pad.
How you store the infrequently used items will be dependent on your office situation and the volume of storage you have available for the purposes of clearing off your desk. The following is the path items take in my home office, based on frequently of use:
- Daily Use: On the actual desktop.
- Weekly Use: In organiser drawers under my charging station, to the side of my desk.
- Monthly Use: In a storage closet at the back of my office.
- Quarterly Use: Everything used this infrequently is stored on shelving in the basement.
You may not have a home office to spread out in or the liberty to shove things in the boiler room at your work. Even in an office tight on extra storage space however, something as small as a plastic tote tucked deep under a desk or on top of a shelf can provide just enough extra storage to hold those infrequently used artefacts and keep your desk clear for productive work.
If you have experience squeezing extra space out of an office to keep your desktop a clear landing strip for new work, let's hear about it in the comments.