Looking for another reason to celebrate the beginning of the new year and start fresh? One way to do that is by organizing your workspace and creating an inspiring environment to help boost your productivity. And what better day to do this than on National Clean Off Your Desk Day, which falls on the second Monday in January!
As a work-from-home mom of two girls and a small business owner, multitasking is my middle name. I’m constantly jumping from one project to another, so it’s crucial for me to stay organized. The goal is to simplify and become more intentional with my time and the items I keep. When I’m working in a clean, clutter-free, and inspiring workspace, it just makes me happy and allows me to be more productive.
A messy desk can distract you and affect your focus, making your day more chaotic. But when you start the day off with a clean surface, it lifts your spirits, helps you stay focused, and sets you up for success.
Start by grabbing a trash bag and going through the items on your desk, getting rid of old papers, receipts, business cards, tags, etc. you no longer need. Then clear your desk off completely so you can clean everything properly. Once you’ve finished cleaning and wiping down all your items, keep only the essentials on top of your desk.
Going forward, take the time to put things back where they belong. Whether it’s a highlighter, paper, stapler, label maker, or a stack of Post-It notes, this will prevent things from piling up all over your desk. And it will save you precious time later.
When it comes to cleaning your workspace, don’t just focus on the stuff that’s on top of your desk — be sure to organize your computer desktop, too. Create folders for your projects to contain all your files and place all the documents in there for easy access later. Clean out your inbox as well. Emily Ley, founder of The Simplified Planner, recommends you search for the word “unsubscribe” and remove yourself from any non-essential lists. I like that idea!
Here are a few home office organizing solutions you can implement to save you stress later:
Get Rid of Papers
This is definitely my pain point. I have so much paperwork that it gets overwhelming, so I need to tackle these piles before they get out of control. I hold onto magazines, catalogs, bills, and general paperwork for way too long. So start by sifting through all the paper that’s currently in your office and getting rid of unnecessary things.
Clean Out Your Drawers
If you’re pressed for time, just focus on one or two drawers at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you have more time, tackle all your office drawers at once. Take out things you no longer need or want and get rid of the excess. Add dividers or inserts to separate the items so it looks nice and neat. This will also make it easier to find what you need later.
Create a Filing System
The idea is to find a system that works for you. This can be a closed file cabinet, open file organizers, or a color-coded system for easy access. I use a combination of things, but some of my favorite items are the clear dividers from The Container Store. I like how it keeps things clean, clear, and close by so my most-used files and active work folders are always within arm’s reach.
Sort the Mail As It Arrives
A great tip is to recycle or throw away junk mail as soon as it arrives, so it doesn’t clutter your desk. Once you’ve decided to keep something, make sure it has a home. You can set up a bin or file folder for bills that need to be paid, things to be filed away, school forms, and other important documents. Just be sure to take time and review what’s in each folder on an ongoing basis so it doesn’t get out of control.
Pretty It Up
Use pretty baskets, bins, and containers to store your office supplies or any unsightly items. Bins are great for storing and labeling like items. You can also keep office supplies organized by using trays and small containers that fit inside your drawers. I also like to place eye-catching containers or clear desktop organizers for items I tend to use every day. By storing things in a simplified and cohesive way, it helps create a cleaner, uncluttered look.
Break It Up Into Small Chunks
Whether you have a long list of things to tackle or you just want to organize your desk, start by making a list of everything you want to accomplish, then prioritize that list. Use the small blocks of time you have to make some progress and you will feel so much better. It’s okay to not get it all done in one shot.
Once you conquer the clutter, you can create a workspace you love without the added stress, so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy. You’ll find that working in a tidy space helps increase your productivity and keeps you inspired, so you’ll be ready to start 2021 on the right foot.