Without a method to deal with all the paper, notes and other clutter that seems to grow on your desk with each passing day, it can become overwhelming in a short time. However, with a little organizing, you can tame that desk clutter beast and see the top of your desk again. Use these five tips to keep your desktop organized:
1) Have an inbox
Just like your email inbox, you need a place where an incoming paper can go. A stackable letter tray works great for this. Make your inbox the top tray, and label it as such – INBOX.
2) Set up a tickler file
If you are not familiar with a tickler file, it is an A to Z accordion file that you can use to store items that must be actioned in some way. Each pocket is tabbed and can be identified in some way so you can identify what is in the pocket. Most commonly people label pockets for each workday of the month. At the beginning of each day reach in the pocket for that day, take out what is in there and action it.
3) Set up a project file
On your desk have a stepped file rack. Have each unfinished project in a separate file folder in the rack, so each one is easily accessible.
4) Digitalize for archiving
Once paper has been actioned and the task completed, throw away what is no longer needed and scan in what has to be kept for archiving. Put scanned documents in its own digital file folder labeled for that project. Either permanently archive the hard copies or destroy them accordingly to company policy. As far as personal papers, you can handle them the same way.
5) Cut down on paper clutter
Of course, one way to deal with papers, notes, etc., is to eliminate generating them in the first place. Instead, use your computer to keep To-Do lists, create digital sticky Post-It® notes and post items in the calendar portion of your email program for things not contained in your tickler file, like upcoming conferences or trips.
With a system in place for organizing paper clutter and then using your system daily to keep on top of it, a messy desktop will be a thing of the past. You’ll also find that you have more time to do other things, so your productivity will grow too. A win/win for all involved!