Especially at the beginning of a new year or when starting a new job, it is time for a new start in your work area. Tidy up, clear out your old papers and make space. We’ve put together 5 tips for conquering the chaos on your desk and explain how you can keep it neat for good.
1. Out with the old
To get any kind of overview about what all is on your desk, you should first sort things out. Fight the deluge of paper and mercilessly throw away anything you don’t need anymore. You don’t have to keep everything in paper form because nowadays nearly all information is available online.
2. Develop a processing system
Disorder often begins with your way of working, so develop a processing system to be able to divide up tasks. Get sorting trays that have different functions. You could have an inbox, a tray for current work that is in progress, and an outbox or file tray.
3. Label it
Label your papers to keep an overview. That way you can see immediately at first glance what papers belong in what file. Even at a distance, labeled files look tidied and orderly.
4. Create permanent spots
Before you can start cleaning up, think about permanent spots. Go through your work processes in your head and visualize what equipment you need particularly often and what need only seldom. The things that you need most often for your work should be kept within reach.
5. Set limits
You’ve gotten sorting trays and labeled your files with the right papers sorted away inside: super! But every tray and every file will reach its capacity limits at some point. Determine when the limits are reached. When filing your latest paperwork, think about whether the old papers can be thrown out. This method will help you keep your materials up to date at all times.
How to keep your desk tidy for good
1. Digitalize your work area
Think about what files you can keep in digital form only. Important documents that you don’t want to lose can be scanned and filed in your digital folder structures. So that you don’t forget anything, save your appointments in your calendar and have it send you a reminder email. That way you’ll need hardly any papers on your desk.
2. Clean up before you finish your day
Before you leave the office for the day, you should tidy up your desk every evening and leave it neat. There’s hardly anything worse than coming in the next morning and seeing a desk that looks like a bomb hit.
3. Implement your processing system
Once you’ve found your personal processing system, you actually have to implement it. Set aside times when you look through your trays. You can look through the things that land in your inbox, for example, mid-morning and just before you end your day. Anything you can take care of within a few minutes should be done immediately. Anything unimportant goes in the waste basket, and you can best file important things right away.