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Five Tips to Organize Your Desk for a Happier, More Productive Workday

Five Tips to Organize Your Desk for a Happier, More Productive Workday

Five Tips to Organize Your Desk for a Happier, More Productive Workday


Or, 5 Ways To Make Your Desk Suck Less

If you're feeling stressed out or unhappy with work, take a few minutes to look around at your immediate surroundings and ask yourself if everything you see helps to support and inspire you or are there things that drag you down and make you feel pressured or out of control? Rather than getting down on yourself about it, assert some control over your environment and see if a simple facelift of your area will give you enough of a boost to get back on track again.


1. Remove all unneeded paperwork and other distractions from sight.

Only keep out what you really need for the specific task that you're working on so you can give it your full concentration. This includes putting away your calendar and to-do list, too. If you have an upcoming appointment that you need to watch the time for, you can set an alarm to let you know when to stop work on the current task to check in with your planner. If there's no need for anyone to urgently get a hold of you, then close your email and set your phone to voicemail as well. Not only will your work get done faster and with less chance of mistakes, but your communications will be better, too, when you can listen to and respond to people with your full attention in between tasks rather than being interrupted in the middle of things.

2. Use containers to maximize space and mask clutter.

Keeping your stuff out of sight doesn't mean you have to dump it all into desk drawers where items would be hard to organize and could get bent out of shape. Simple plastic containers can do a wonderful job of keeping things organized and at-hand while improving your environment by providing smooth, unmarked surfaces to look at (or, rather, to not be distracted by) instead of individual papers, pens, pushpins, paper clips, staplers, scissors, notepads, and the like. On top of that, containers can increase space efficiency and give you more working area by being able to stack together or be placed under your desk or elsewhere in the room. Some are even designed to be able to mount on the wall. This is a great chance to apply some creativity to managing your daily grind, and investing yourself into taking control of your space will help fight off stress and frustration that can build up from other things you are less able to control.

3. Color code your containment system.

Rather than labeling your containers, use different colors to categorize their contents. In addition to bringing more visual appeal to your work area, you can match colors to your personal needs. If you want them to fade into the background, then stick to neutral colors or other choices that blend into your environment. However, if you'd like to foster a more peaceful feeling while you work, you can choose things like seaside colors or whatever reminds you of a more tranquil setting. If you're more in need of energizing, then pick bright colors that stimulate you and make you happy, like those of your favorite flowers. Spending some time to shop around and find what really resonates with you emotionally while also meeting your functional needs will pay off in terms of both productivity and positivity.

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4. Clean up as you go.

When you finish up with one task, clean up after yourself immediately rather than waiting for things to pile up before dealing with them. This not only reduces distractions in your desk area, but it also allows your mind to let go of what you were working on to be fresh for the next project. This is also a good opportunity to take a quick break and do some self-care to rejuvenate yourself before moving on. Taking some time-outs for yourself will turn out to yield better results than struggling against tiredness or lack of inspiration and will keep you healthier mentally and physically over the long haul.

5. Pay attention to how you use things to group them more efficiently.

Sometimes the logical way to organize things doesn't turn out to match up with the way those things get used in actual practice. That's fine. Everything has to start somewhere, but it doesn't have to stay the same way. Be flexible enough to adapt when you see opportunities for improvement. While it might seem like keeping things the same would be more efficient by letting you operate on autopilot throughout the day, autopilot can potentially become another source of distraction since the mind tends to wander off when it's not being used. Changing things up once in a while will engage your mind, renew your spirit, and keep your work interesting so that you will continue to feel good about what you do and are less likely to distract yourself to eliminate boredom.


Of course, not all aspects of working are going to be made magically better just by rearranging your space, but the goal is to create an environment that better supports you so that you have more strength and focus to deal with your tasks and challenges as they come and feel good about your workday rather than drained by it.

About the Author

Kristina Wilcox

Artist, Writer, Game Designer, and Website Programmer, specializing in inspirational and educational entertainment and employment training for disabled persons and caretakers.

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