So we’ve discussed organizing your writing, but I think it’s time to talk about something I’ve overlooked: organizing your workspace.
This all depends on how you work best. Some like order; some thrive with chaos.
However, if you sit down at your desk and immediately feel overwhelmed with the clutter, it might be time to rethink how you’ve organized your workspace.
How should I organize my desk?
Everything on your desk should scream efficiency. According to CNN Money’s interview with professional organizer Lisa Zaslow, there is a special way to do this.
Are you right-handed or left-handed?
This might seem obvious (it sure wasn’t to me), but you want to keep pens, pencils, etc. on your dominant side so you don’t have to reach across your desk to jot down a note.
You want to do the same with your phone so you can answer calls without awkwardly reaching across your desk and breaking your stride.
Zaslow also recommends placing notebooks on your dominant side, but I believe it all comes down to how you write. I’m left-handed and my desk has high tack boards on each side to pin up papers so I can’t write on my left side without slamming my elbow into the boards each time I make a note.
So you might want to try both ways and see which works best for you.
Where should your computer monitor go?
According to Zaslow, the monitor should be at eye level and about an arm’s length or 17 inches from your body (get comfortable in your chair and reach out; your fingertips should touch the screen).
If you have two monitors (if you don’t, I strongly recommend investing in another one!), you can either center both — if you use both equally — or place the less-used monitor a bit off-center.
What if you have stacks of papers on your desk?
Depending on how big your desk is, you might be able to simply put the stacks out of sight, behind your monitor or on your non-dominant side.
If your desk is smaller, you might want to consider buying a desktop file organizer. They take up very little space and allow you to organize them in whatever way you see fit. With a step organizer, you can save space and arrange your files in order of importance (e.g., you could put the most important files at the top of the organizer or at the front to ensure visibility, whichever works best for you.)
If you can’t stand having papers on your desk, but need to keep them within arm’s reach, consider a folder that hangs from the sides of your cubicle.
If you have absolutely no space or just really like organizing, consider a file organizer that holds all your stuff.
What about personal touches?
Most people want to personalize their desk, and I say go for it. However, Zaslow cautions that too many pictures or knick-knacks could be distracting. She recommends limiting it to three.
Inc.com recommends taking it a bit further and putting all objects, such as staplers and tape dispensers, into drawers or trays out of sight. You can leave the pictures up though!
Is your computer distracting you?
Now, it might not be your desk that’s distracting you at all. It might be the icons on your desktop. Laiza King, entrepreneur and freelance writer for The Huffington Post, recommends deleting any folders or pictures you don’t need and creating new folders when necessary.
Now, this all depends on how you work best. Try these tips and see what works for you. If you find that you’re most productive when your desk is spotless, try to keep it that way. If the best ideas come to you when your desk is covered in papers and post-its, then go for it.
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