In the office, your desk is your command center. And experts said how well organized it can help set the tone and level of productivity at work.
“Surveys show that the average person loses an hour a day due to disorganization,” said Lisa Zaslow, a professional organizer in New York City. “It takes a lot less time to get organized and stay organized. Think about how frantic and stressed you are when you can’t find something.”
Here’s how experts suggest organizing your desk for maximum efficiency and productivity:
Get your design right. According to Zaslow, your monitor should be in front of you at eye level and approximately 17 inches from your body. You can use the cool office desk accessories to get a high level of comfort.
Place frequently used items, such as a phone or supplies, on your dominant side to avoid having to reach for them.
Take care of your office supplies. Supplies used every day can go to the desk. Items used a few times a week should go in a drawer underneath or next to a desk.
“Getting up even once a day to get a pencil or a paper clip is turning off your brain from a project you are working on and you will have to go back and refocus,” said Amy Trager, a professional organizer in Chicago.
It is also better to group similar elements. “All of your office supplies should be kept together, not divided into several drawers,” said Andrew Mellen, a professional organizer.
Be easy with reminders. When it comes to sticky notes, moderation is key.
Framing your monitor with notes is not the most effective. “They’ve lost their usefulness at that point,” said Trager. Use them for important short-term reminders.
Don’t go overboard with personal goodies. Maintaining a balance between work and personal life is difficult, especially at your desk. Family photos, vacation memories, and other goodies can provide positive feelings during the work day, but too many memories can be a distraction.
“Our eyes put everything in front of us and our brain processes it, even if we don’t realize it,” Zaslow explained. A desk full of things means “that is a lot of work and editing for you”.
She recommended not to keep more than three personal items on a desk.
Control your inbox. Email is a convenient way to communicate, but it can also be a great distraction.
If it becomes a major distraction, Trager recommended that you designate certain periods of time during the day to check and reply to the email. “The rest of the time is for work.”
Also, don’t be afraid to disable pop-up alerts for new mail if you interrupt your workflow.
Embrace the blank. Keep a paper-size free space on your dominant side like a designated workspace to make it easier to review or sign documents.
Prioritize your workflow. Just keep relevant and active projects and documents on your desktop.
When you back up work, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stop productivity, so here’s how Trager recommended grouping projects together to prioritize:
1) Important and urgent
2) Urgent, but not necessarily important
3) Important, without urgency
4) Not urgent and not important
He added that vertical file holders help avoid stacking folders on top of each other and skipping folders that aren’t on top.