Cluttered Desk, Wasted Time

We've all heard the saying that refers to a cluttered desk and disorganization. Well the saying is true! No matter how much you think the clutter is organized, "I know just where everything is," don't be lulled into thinking this doesn't have an effect on your ability to be productive. On study actually found that the average person wastes up to three hours a week just looking for stuff! It's true; desk clutter can be responsible for a lot of wasted time.

My favorite system is from David Allen's book, Getting Things Done. It's simple, organized and saves time because you get right to the point of processing, organizing and reviewing so you get maximum productivity. Here's how it works:

First, get an inbox and put everything there - everything! This is the starting point. If it doesn't fit in your inbox, put it next to the inbox. Now you are ready to process the items.

Go through each item one at a time and take an action:

  • If it takes less than two minutes, just do it. Right then and there while it is in your hands and on your mind.
  • If you’re not the right person to do it, then send it to someone who can.
  • If it takes more than two minutes to do, but must get done by you, put in an “action tray” or tickler file. You will need to check this file daily to make sure that every item gets addressed. You might also need a file for “current projects.”

Additionally, sort your mail and toss junk as it arrives. Processing your mail daily gets rid of extra trash and clutter. And when you stop working on something, put it away until you need it again. Don’t leave half-completed projects sitting on your desk.

Now you are ready to organize.

  • If there is no current action to take then you need to decide to either file it, recycle it or shred it.
  • Put it in the action tray if you’re not ready to deal with it but don't be tempted to dump it all there or you'll have just as much clutter as when you started.

Now that you've narrowed the paperwork a bit you can begin make organization a part of your daily habits and stay on top of it better.

  • At least twice a day process the items that are dropped in the inbox. If you will do this at the end of the day you'll be ready for the next morning and will save time getting organized at the beginning of the day.
  • At the end of the week, move completed projects into your filing cabinet. Take items in your recycling bin to the main recycling bin in the office.
  • Monthly - At the end of the month, go through your filing cabinet and prune any files you don’t think you’ll ever need again.

Organizing a cluttered desk may be difficult at the beginning but by following through with the steps above you'll find that it is a normal part of your system in just a few short weeks. And, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to find things when you need them making more time for you to work with clients.

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PageName=/cluttered-desk | Website Last Updated: Friday March 24, 2017