There’s nothing more helpful than organizing your desk to make you feel more productive and creative. But sometimes just organizing your desk (the top of it) still doesn’t make your office feel tidy enough to focus and concentrate.
Maybe there’s still too much stuff in the drawers, there are wires everywhere, and your workflow is more like a swamp than a river. It really isn’t flowin’.
Well, here are some extra ideas to improve your whole workflow.
Workflow tip #1: Thin out electronic files and back them up
Just like you would do with an overflowing file cabinet, it’s important to keep your electronic files thinned out to a manageable level. Now is the time to delete some old files you don’t need anymore. (And I’m not even talking about your emails right now. That is a different animal!)
I’m talking about past projects, drafts of old letters to lawyers, insurance companies, etc. This is just like throwing out the paper files we worked on in How to organize your desk. See if you can find some entire folders to delete, or just move off of your computer’s desktop.
If this seems way too overwhelming to you, set a timer for 10 minutes and go through your electronic files for only that amount of time.
There will be a LOT you can throw out. For the documents you do want to keep, use an online storage service (in the cloud) like dropbox, google drive, or something similar. This will allow you to access your documents from any computer, anywhere. Welcome to modern life, baby!
Workflow tip #2: Create a work schedule
Do you feel like you never have enough time to get things done?
Are you constantly putting out fires?
Here are two proven methods to try if you are self-employed, or just need to have some discipline around doing yucky, adult things (paying bills, budgeting, checking on kids’ school stuff, etc.)
Different personality types respond to different methods. See which one sounds better to you and try that one!
1st method – make an appointment with your desk
If you are the type of person who feels the most free when you are within some boundaries, this is the method for you.
Determine which hours of the day are the most likely for you to actually do work. Next, block off that good work-time your on your calendar as WORK. Give yourself a buffer of about 50% for emergency things that will inevitably pop up. (like Instagram! ah-hem.)
Depending on your working style, you could micro-manage your schedule further. For most people just putting a chunk of work hours on the calendar is a helpful place to start.
**Important** Honor the WORK appointment in your calendar as you would any other. If you need to change the time around for another meeting or trip, then take the WORK appointment off the calendar for that time. If you just start ignoring it and planning things over the WORK time without rescheduling WORK time, the block on your calendar will become invisible.
2nd method- make your list a challenge
If having your calendar full makes you feel claustrophobic and you prefer a more flow-y type of schedule, try this idea.
Whenever you think of something you need to do, write it on a list. Alternately, before you open your screen, think about all you need to get done and write the list all at once. From this big list, pick 2 things that are really important and time-sensitive.
Next set a timer, sit down and see how many of your tasks you can plow through at one sitting.
Delegating is the secret to happiness. Click To Tweet
No matter which method you chose, if you find there is something you just know you aren’t going to do (because you hate it), find someone to whom you can delegate the task, even if you have to pay them.
Workflow tip #3: Consolidate your to-do lists
When life gets extra crazy many people end up with multiple notebooks and digital list apps. That happens to me often! No big deal. Just spend 5-10 minutes consolidating the to-do lists onto one app or into one notebook and put the other notebooks away until your primary one is full.
**Genius idea** If you are a physical notebook keeper, write the date it your notebook every now and then so when you are going back searching for something you have a time reference.
Workflow tip #4: Tidy up your cord situation
If you suffer from unsightly cords, try this clever hack (stolen from my husband, Jeff, who stole it from LifeHacker). Mount a rain gutter onto the back of your desk. All power strips and cords get dumped right into the gutter out of sight completely!
Workflow tip #5: (sparsely) Decorate your space
Sometimes a little color and some inspirational photos or quotes can keep a girl motivated at her desk. If a little meaningful decor helps you, go for it! Get all feng shui-rific, or put a pretty pillow in your chair. Set up your i-tunes to be enjoyed every time you sit down to Facebook—I mean work! Put up some photos you love.
**Genius idea** Once these things stop inspiring you, it’s time to change them out. Keep a couple of options in your bottom drawer to rotate when your cat posters lose their spice.
This has been a brief overview of how to organize your desk life and space. I know, I know, there are a lot more details to be explored. Here are some other great articles
(not by me) that you’ll enjoy about office organization:
- Don’t break the chain– Jerry Seinfeld’s method for creative success
- How to organize your entire life with Trello (a great ToDo list app)
- Which is best for cloud document storage: google drive or dropbox?
What do you do to keep your desk looking good so you can be your most productive, creative self when you sit down?
Videos from our #ClutterChallenge to help in the office: