A tidy desk equals a tidy mind

Keep your desk tidy and you'll feel more focused and productive.

Keep your desk tidy and you’ll feel more focused and productive.

Have you ever noticed yourself becoming less organised as your desk becomes more and more cluttered? A messy desktop, whether it’s physical or digital, can result in a serious decline in our productivity, mental alertness and organisation.

While it can often seem impossible to keep your desk organised, decluttering can be surprisingly simple when you turn it into a habit. In this post, we’ll share six simple tips that you can use to keep your desk, and your mind, tidy and organised.

Write down your daily to-do list

How do you keep track of your daily activities? Online calendars and to-do list apps are useful, but nothing beats the simplicity and permanence of keeping a written to-do list of your most important daily tasks and goals.

Write down your goals for the day on a piece of letter paper and keep it on the top of your desk while you work. Stick to a maximum of five goals and cross each one off as you achieve it. After a few days, you’ll notice a huge different in your productivity.

Have a physical message inbox

Who says your inbox needs to be purely digital? If you’re addicted to email (many of us are) an excellent way to manage your email overload is by printing messages and storing them in a physical inbox on your desk.

Your desktop inbox can double as an incoming tasks list, letting you keep track of all the important documents you receive each day. Dedicate 15-20 minutes daily to the inbox and manage your documents in a batch, preventing clutter from accumulating.

Take five minutes daily to declutter

Does your desk seem to accumulate clutter all on its own? Even the most organised professionals will find memos, letters and other items cluttering their desk, often on a daily basis.

Take five minutes to declutter and organise your desk, preferably at the end of every work day. You’ll be surprised at how little time is required to change your desk from cluttered and disorganised to clean and ready for work.

Scan papers to keep your desk tidy

Got memos? How about contracts? Instead of letting documents pile up on top of your desk, scan them and store them digitally. For important documents, file the original in a filing cabinet and use your digital copy for references.

Digitising your documents is a great way to prevent the clutter that’s endemic to a majority of modern offices. If you receive a lot of documents, dedicate 15 minutes a day to digitising and you’ll never have to worry about misplaced items again.

Plan for tomorrow the day before

Here’s a great way to make yourself more productive: write tomorrow’s to-do list at the end of today’s workday. This way, you’ll arrive at work with your goals and tasks already listed for the day, letting you get straight down to work.

As well as making you more productive, working out tomorrow’s goals before you leave the office has a psychological effect. Instead of taking your work back to your home with you, you keep work-related planning at the office, letting you relax.

Clean your desktop every evening

At the end of each workday, set a simple but strict rule for yourself: no paper on top of your desk. When you stand up to leave the office, make sure everything you kept on top of your desk is filed away, scanned, sorted or in the rubbish bin.

Clutter accumulates over time, often without you noticing. Over the course of a week or two, your desk can go from clutter-free to absolutely covered. Decluttering at the end of each workday forces you to be accountable and to keep your desk tidy.