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How to Organize Your Desk for Maximum Productivity

Published July 16, 2018

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If you’re like the typical worker, the sad reality is that you probably spend more time at your desk than you do with family. How you work is based largely on where you work, so chances are if you are working in a disorganized space your work is disorganized as well. Here are some tips on how to organize your desk for maximum productivity so you can get your work done quickly and get home even quicker.

Get Rid of Everything You Don’t Use-Yes Everything

That random stress ball you got from that IT conference two years ago? Get rid of it. Those un-opened packages of thumbtacks? Pass it along to someone who actually has a bulletin board. Junk drawer overflowing? Call your local junkman to take it away.

Dedicate half a day to going through your drawers, boxes, and files and throw out anything you haven’t touched for the last six months. Like you would do with your home, have two boxes: one for donations and one for garbage. Not only will your office feel better without extra “stuff”, but you’ll feel better about helping someone (even if it’s just your coworker) in need. Starting with a clean slate will allow you to make a clean break from your unnecessary knick-knacks.

Separate Your To-Dos from Your All-Done

Out with the old, in with the new! While it might seem like the most obvious organizational hack, this tip is a tried and true winner. Keep two trays on your desk: one for documents and tasks that need to be done and one for papers that still need to be looked at. Not only will you have a good sense of how much work needs to still be done, but you will feel more motivated by seeing how much work you have already accomplished. Better yet, if you clearly label your incoming tray your coworkers will be able to just leave important papers for you in a more organized way. No need to pester your colleagues at the copy or coffee machine.

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Zone Out

By organizing your desk more efficiently your goal should be to focus more and zone out less, but this can be achieved by creating different zones or areas on your desk. Most experts suggest two zones: one for computer-related activities and one for, well, everything else. By having your document reading section away from your desktop you will make sure that you will not be distracted by the constant pings of new emails.

Think Vertically

The sky’s the limit! When you run out of space on your desktop you will always have space above and below. Put any tools that you don’t use every day, such as staplers, tape dispensers, and hole punches (unless you’re an office supply dealer) in your desk drawers. Aside from your classic desk drawers, invest in some real estate above your desk. One simple trick is to use a stand for your lap/desktop to free up some space and keep your screen at eye level. Investing in shelves means you can organize your files (and maybe some pictures of your dog) in a place that’s easy to reach yet out of the way.

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Get Yourself a Big Trash Can

Don’t settle for those mini-office trash cans; shoot for the full-size Oscar the Grouch receptacle. Having a larger wastebasket will not only make you feel better about creating, well, waste but will give you a visual goal of how much you should be getting rid of. These days most files are digitized and kept securely in the cloud, so there’s really no need to keep piles of physical files. But of course, a big trash can needs a matching big recycling bin to boot.

Express Yourself

Would you rather work in a dreary-white office with barren walls or one with some personality? While you might think that having a plain space would keep you focused, adding some character to your desk can give you the motivation to get through your 9-5. Family photos, artwork, inspirational quotes from Instagram- adding any one of these can help you get through your sea of emails more efficiently and keep you from being an ordinary desk jockey. Just be careful you don’t add too many distractions as most experts suggest limiting your personal items to three or less. It’s the perfect amount to keep you going, but not enough to clutter up the office you worked so hard to clean.

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Straighten Up Before You Leave

Remember the 10 second tidy your parents made you do when you were a kid? Turns out mom and pop had good advice. If you take the last five minutes before you leave every day to straighten up papers, take out the garbage, and dust your computer screen, your office will stay spotless and keep your distractions to a minimum. Plus this way you won’t have to dedicate hours to spring cleaning as your space will already be neat. Wouldn’t you rather devote five minutes every day to light tidying than an entire workday to heavy-duty cleaning?

When in Doubt, Get a Cactus

Want a simple way to increase your productivity? Science says get yourself a plant. According to a study, productivity and attention in an office increased by 15% when there was a plant in sight. This can even be just seeing greenery out of your window if you don’t have a green thumb. For extra efficiency, check out plants that require little work such as cacti, aloe, and peace lilies. Better yet, you won’t feel guilty for forgetting to water them (and causing their untimely death).

While these tips have been proven to increase productivity remember that your workspace should be customized to fit your individual needs. One organization tool that works for every business is our fully customizable invoice templates. Easily create, send and store personalized invoices on our site. Your bills will be one less thing cluttering up your desk.

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