Every day you sit down at your desk and wonder what happened. There are papers and files strewn across every square inch of the desk surface, post-it notes attached to your laptop screen, and a few coffee cups with aged dredges sitting to the side.
You want to work more efficiently, but organizing your desk seems like a time-consuming project that you honestly don’t have time to do.
Take a deep breath. You can organize your desk quickly and without hiring a professional. It just takes a little dedicated time and patience while your workspace evolves into a well-oiled workflow machine.
We’ll cover why you need to organize your desk in the first place, give you five easy ways to get the job done, and provide you with some helpful tips to get started if you’re really feeling stuck.
Why Should You Organize Your Desk?
Sometimes you need a little motivation to get started. After all, you’re getting your work done, even if it is amid a stack of documents that needed filing a week ago. Here’s why organizing your desk can help you get your work done better.
Getting your work done and being efficient are two very different things. Being efficient means more than just finishing a job; it means strategizing, prioritizing, and completing tasks at a set pace. You can’t be efficient with a messy desk.
If you’re consistently producing work, you probably don’t notice how much time you spend looking for lost items or trying to find your way through a stack of papers to locate the one you need.
Organizing your desk can streamline your workflow and help you become more efficient. If you’re struggling with efficiency, organizing can make it easier to get your work done quickly and effectively.
Are you stressed because your desk is a mess, or is your desk a mess because you’re stressed?
Research shows a definite link between the amount of clutter on your desk and your stress level at work. In fact, our physical surroundings impact our brain function, behavior, emotions, and even how we react to situations that need decisions.
Clutter can keep us trapped in negative thought patterns, which can destroy our work ethic and cause us to lose focus repeatedly while working.
Stress can work the other way around, too. If we are stressed, we can put off decision making or certain tasks, allowing them to pile up on our desks, creating a messy workspace that keeps us further distracted and can even make us depressed.
Attraction to your workspace is important, especially if your desk is part of a home office. Keeping the flow of your home organized and clutter-free extends to your home office. If your entire home is clean and visually comfortable, but your home office is a wreck, it will distract from the beauty and artistic design of the rest of the home.
Visual appeal is important in creating a space where you want to spend time. Considering you’ll be in your workspace for numerous hours a day, it’s pretty important it is visually appealing to you.
If your workspace doesn’t “spark joy,” as one famous organizational expert often says, you won’t be as likely to want to spend your time there.
5 Easy Desk Organization Ideas
You can organize your desk and create a space that is functional, uncluttered, and ergonomic by following a few easy cues and paying closer attention to your work patterns. Here’s how.
The easiest way to get rid of unnecessary items on your desk space is to make three piles: one pile for keeping on your desk, one for items that can be rehomed elsewhere, and one for garbage.
As you sort through the items on your desk, pay special attention to the number of decorative flourishes occupying space. For instance, even though you love your plants, they may be taking up valuable real estate on the surface of your desk.
- Decorative declutter. Consider putting your decorative items on a side table or organizing them onto a bookshelf. You can also use wall space to hang a shelf for decorative items, keeping them safe, visible, and out of the way.
- Triage the items that get to take up desk space. Obviously, some items are necessary, like your laptop or perhaps your charging station. Some items may not need to be on your desk-find another place for them to live.
2. Create Space
It happens more often than you realize; you need space to sign a document or jot down a note. What usually happens? You realize your desk is covered with paraphernalia that doesn’t allow you the space you need. You end up pushing papers and objects around to make space and end up with a mess. The solution is to create more usable space on your desktop.
- Using trays, containers, and small bins can help organize smaller items and eliminate the clutter covering your desk.
- Use a desk with drawers. You can still have a beautiful, modern desk if you opt for one with drawers. Use drawers to file papers and hold items you don’t need on an everyday basis.
3. Add Additional Storage
More often than not, the biggest problem with desk organization is a matter of lack of storage space. If you’ve got an excessive amount of files or items you need to retain that simply won’t fit in a single desk drawer, consider bringing in some reinforcements. Opt for storage that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
- A beautiful credenza can add visual appeal while storing a massive amount of files, papers, and books. The top of the credenza can be used for additional storage, decorative items, and/or additional desk space if it is needed.
- Look down underneath. You can also add storage space under your desk if your desk doesn’t have drawers built in. A small filing cabinet is a great idea for keeping files and records corralled neatly out of sight and organized.
4.Be Intentional With Decor
You spend a lot of time at your desk, so naturally, you want a beautiful workspace. Surround yourself with things you love that aren’t distracting.
- Simplify your art. Instead of a collage of family pictures above your desk, opt for one large portrait or an abstract painting with soothing colors that sets the mood without drawing your attention away from your work.
- Double duty beauty. Look for artistic touches that can double as something functional. You can use a lamp that is both artistic in design and functional in providing light or opt for mousepads, pencil holders, and quick-access filing systems that are both ornate and functional.
5. Create a Workable Flow
Your workflow moves work from right to left or left to right depending on the design of your office and how you interact with coworkers, or how you move work across your desk. Set up your desk space accordingly, making sure there aren’t any “kinks” in the workflow, and everything moves across the space efficiently and intentionally.
Finding it difficult to get started? Try these tips.
Decide What You Need From Your Desk Space
Every desk has a purpose, and the key to organizing your desk is determining what purpose your desk has.
- Does it need to have a large space for artistic renderings, working with canvases, or other hand projects?
- Does it need to house more than one laptop or electronic device?
Giving your desk a purpose can help you decide what items are essential and which can store elsewhere.
Make Sure You Have the Correct Furniture
Your furniture is important, and making sure it’s not only visually appealing but functional is key.
A high-quality, modern desk can make all the difference. Modloft makes beautiful, high-end, modern pieces accessible. No matter what your needs, Modloft has the furniture and storage pieces that will stimulate you visually and keep your workspace functional.
Leave it Open for Changes
Don’t expect to organize your desk in one fell swoop. It will take time to determine what is functional and what doesn’t work.
- Try an initial organization system and then build upon it.
- Stay open to change. Don’t feel like the items you’ve arranged have to remain permanently. Even if you really love the look of something in a particular space, it isn’t useful or beneficial if it doesn’t help you work better.
Organizing your desk is an important facet of being more productive. Using every space of your desk and surrounding wall and floor space efficiently helps keep you organized and keeps your desk space clutter-free.
Your desk can be comfortable, appealing, and hard-working if you use the correct furniture pieces and organization techniques.
IMPROVING EFFICIENCY AT THE WORKPLACE: WHY IT’S IMPORTANT AND HOW TO DO IT | SMB CEO
Bridging the Information Worker Productivity Gap: Challenges and Opportunities for IT | Warekennis
The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk | HBR