Clear Your Desktop in 7 Easy Steps
Clear the Clutter, Clear Your Mind!
1. Prepare yourself! Have a great breakfast, coffee, tea or whatever gets your day started in a fantastic way. Warm up your body and your mind: Take a walk, go to the gym, stretch, run, meditate, or pray. Hydrate yourself, prep a water bottle to have with you as you work.
2. Dress in comfortable clothes. You do not want to give up because you feel like you cannot move, bend, and reach what you need.
3. Get rid of the strangers…clear out those things that do not belong in your office: empty coffee mugs, dirty dishes, empty cardboard packing boxes, bubble wrap, and any other strangers that need to be removed from your office.
4. Clear off the top of your desk. Put all the items in one pile and work from the top to the bottom of this pile to deal with all these items. Make sure the most recent items are on the top of the pile so your current work and most important follow up items will be taken care of first. Remember, Barbara Hemphill’s motto: Clutter is postponed decisions!
5. Now that the top of your desk is cleared off, it is a great time to give it a good cleaning. Your energy and the energy of your office will improve if you can see a clean, clear space to work.
6. Now you are ready to process the items in your pile. For most clients, much of what will be in this pile are files and paper. The productive environment process known as File, Act, Toss™, teaches there are only three things you can do with a piece of paper:
a. File it -This would be paper that is related to a specific topic that you need for a project, and activity or for reference purposes. The purpose of filing is to be able to FIND this document when you need it.
b. Act – These papers need action, a bill to pay a reminder of something you need to do today, mail you need to send, or files you need to move on to someone else. These things that belong elsewhere can be moved to your outbox (an outbox does not need to be a physical box, yet everyone will benefit from an Outbox of some kind. It could be a shelf on a bookcase, a corner of the desk, a basket by the door. The important thing about having and using an outbox is that it is where you collect everything that needs to go somewhere else. Stop last-minute frantic searches for things or forgetting what you are supposed to bring with you when you leave.)
c. Toss – Think junk mail, copies of copies, outdated documents, documents you printed to read and no longer need to keep. I think the greatest culprit I see here is the printed email (I get it that some of us prefer to read paper documents and that is OK, but when you have finished reading, do the next step and shred, toss, or recycle). The Toss step includes recycle and shred. Don’t forget to shred any document that has personal identifying information, pre-qualified credit offers and anything that could be used to start an account in your name.)
7. Other things that might be in your pile include things that make your desk feel personal:
a. Family pictures, your favorite mug, decorative items. Before you return them to your desk, give them a little cleaning love.
b. Office Supplies: note pads, post-its, paper clips, pens, pencils, calculator, hard drives for back up, in-box, out-box, filing box, tape, scissors. This is for your daily needs only. You should have a separate area for back up supplies. Ideally, having a clear area to work is the goal.
TaDah! You have cleared your desktop! Give yourself a hand! Your office is cleaner, more inspiring, and healthier. Do not despair if you see clutter returning. Life HAPPENS!!! Just remember you have a process to follow to get your office back into shape any time life pulls you off track. Even if you only spend a few minutes a week on this process, you will see and feel the results of having a clean, clear space to work.
Reach out if you need help getting your desk top under control, I would love to help!