Day 1 is the easiest; your desk is clean, perfectly set-up, and everything you need is right where it should be (for a productive day at work)! When day 2 rolls around, you’ll probably have some papers on your desk that need a look through, a pen or two might be left out of place, and the trash can will require to be emptied out. By day 3, it’s safe to say that you’ll need to come up with some sort of routine that will keep your desk clean and organised at work!
One of the reasons why a work desk is easily messed up is because many individuals use it as a multipurpose table. From eating meals over it to kicking your feet up on it; we unintentionally dirty and clutter up our work desk without even realising it.
Now, imagine if you could subconsciously maintain a clean and organised work desk by incorporating a couple of daily habits to your time at the office; well, to train your mind to do that, you need to develop these good habits in the first place. Don’t let the psychology of it all confuse you; it’s pretty easy and we are here to explain how! Take a look at these daily habits that help keep a work desk organised and clean!
Clean Before You Start Work
Since you are likely to spend a good amount of hours at your work desk for the rest of your day, it’s best to clean it before you start working. For sanitary reasons, in particular, working at a clean desk is definitely recommended! Apart from this, it also motivates you to be productive. What’s more, a desk that is maintained on a daily basis will only take a few minutes to clean and organise!
Habits to include in your daily, pre-work routine:
- Discard any rubbish lying on the desk
- Give it a quick wipe down
- Sort through junk mail/papers
- Untangle wires
- Put things neatly back in place
For a quicker and more effective clean, use the tips below:
- Keep a dust cloth and spray bottle of you chosen cleaner nearby
- Keep a tray on your desk for papers that are yet to be looked over
- Use cable clips to organise wires
- Use PC covers to keep dust from accumulating on your system
- Clean your laptop and quickly with a microfibre cloth
Depending on the type of work you do, there may be junk mail and other papers or items coming in and out of your office on a daily basis. Most of these things contribute to clutter on your work desk, as well as around your office; therefore, decluttering daily is necessary! If you wait for more than a day to do this, chances are that the clutter will double, making it more time-consuming to deal with.
Daily habits and tips to keep a clutter-free work desk:
- Don’t let anything ‘useless’ lie on your desk for more than an hour
- Discard unwanted items as soon as you find them on the desk
- Have a designated place or storage space for everything so that your desk doesn’t become a dumping zone for all work-related items
- Avoid bringing non-related work items into your office; chances are that they will lie there for a long time
- Incorporate more storage (if needed) to ensure that you do not use your desk to store anything more than what you require to
Keep Your Essentials in Place
When your essentials such as pens, organisers, laptops, and notepads get moved out of place, it’s like an invitation for more untidiness on your desk! While you can’t keep these things in place at all times, it’s important that you do so while they’re not in use. For this, your essentials will need to have a designated place to begin with. Once that has been established, it’s just a matter of making a habit out of keeping them in place.
How to organise desk essentials and maintain it:
- Keep organising tools on your desk such as trays for important papers, a pen holder, a bowl for paperclips, etc
- Use multiple tier trays for extra storage; this will allow you to organise your desk in a better manner
- Make sure that your essentials are within reach to avoid moving them entirely out of place
- Store chargers in top drawers; put them away at the end of the day
- Avoid overcrowding penholders
- When you’ve got a minute to spare, take a look at your work desk and make sure that your essentials are in place
Do a Mid-Day Clean-up
Pick a time during the course of the day when things aren’t so busy to do a quick clean-up. A suitable time for this could be before you break for lunch, or after (if that’s what you’d prefer). By keeping things clean and organised throughout the day, every little task can be completed in a matter of seconds!
Tasks to include for a mid-day clean-up:
- Organise papers/notes
- Wipe the desk if you find dust on the surface
- Keep your essentials back in place
- Prepare the desk to resume work right away (after your break-time)
- Inspect desk drawers for untidiness, or any clutter that may have accumulated during the course of the day
Use a Food Tray for Meals/Snacks
Get into the habit of eating meals in a tray to keep crumbs and food off your desk. It’s hard not to make a little bit of a mess when eating anything; therefore, the use of a large tray is a great idea when eating at the office! While it’s typically advisable not to allow food and drinks near a work table in the first place, some working individuals don’t really have a choice. Particularly on days when you’re swamped with work, you can’t help but have a quick bite at your desk. Well, a food or serving tray is just what you need to eliminate spills on your desk.
Clean and Organise at the End of the Day
At the end of the day, spare a few minutes to organise your work desk. During the course of the day, things may be left out of place or require organising; rather than adding them to your list of things to do tomorrow, make it a habit to attend to these things before calling it a day. What’s more, an organised work desk is much easier and quicker to clean efficiently before you start work in the morning!
Things to do at the end of the day:
- Gather up papers and organise them; all files/papers should be back in the tray at the end of the day
- Empty the trash can
- Take any non-related work items off the desk and put them where they belong
- Discard any rubbish or unwanted papers/notes
- Give the desk a quick wipe down
- Cover your computer or laptop
- Keep chargers/cables back in the desk drawer
As you incorporate these must-dos in your day-to-day work life, it won’t be long till you’ve fully developed good habits for a clean and organised work desk!