How To Organize Your Office Desk In 15 Minutes
By Bridgette Boudreaux

Do you have to move papers and clutter
to create space to work on your desk?   

Is your desk covered with uncompleted projects, stacks of unread correspondences,
sticky notes containing unfamiliar scribbles of messages taken days ago, inkless pens,
pencils with no lead, paper clips scattered about and memos taped to the computer
to remind you of deadlines?

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you must reclaim your desk and conquer all the
desk demons invading your office desk. A cluttered desk is no place to be creative
or productive, it only adds to the feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed and

However in 15 minutes, you can conquer the desk demons and create a successful
surrounding that will get you feeling very productive and motivated.  Here are four
steps that will get you the perfect office desk in 15 minutes.

Clear Your Desk of Everything

Take everything off your desk and put it on the floor in neat stacks.  At this time don't
try to justify what you must keep and what needs to be trashed, just take it all off your
desk.  This will give you the clarity you need to begin and complete this exercise and
the opportunity to rejuvenate and refresh.   You are transforming from an old habit of a
messy desk into a new way of keeping your desk organized.

Designate an Inbox Space

Decide if you would like the right or left corner of your desk to be your inbox
(I recommend the right corner), however, it's your desk so you must decide.  Once you
have designated a space for your invoice, put an 8 X 11 inch tray in that space to hold
all incoming correspondences.  Don't fret, if you don't have a tray, no need to rush out
and purchase one, just designate an area and identify it as your inbox space and never
allow anything else to take up that particular space.  The use of your inbox space is to
collect all incoming correspondences: memos, mail, anything that is coming to you and
you are responsible for reading (it's comparable to your email inbox). You must check
in with your inbox tray daily. Upon reading a correspondence, you must take three
actions: take action immediately (if it requires a response), file it or trash it.  Your
inbox is not a holding space to keep information indefinitely.  It serves as an
organization tool to hold all incoming information until you can take one of the above
actions.  You must make the commitment to check in with your inbox daily, sometimes
two to three times a day depending upon the amount of incoming information you
receive daily.

Create A Tickler File

Get twelve manila folders and label them January – December, then you will need 31
more vanilla folders labeled 1 – 31 for the days in the month and two additional
folders labeled for the upcoming years.  As I am writing this it is 2008, so you would
create a 2008 folder and a 2009 folder.

Which ever month that you are currently in, include the days of the month folders
(1-31).  Whenever you have a planned task, appointment, incoming memo announcing
a meeting/ seminar and or project deadline just put the information in the folder
according to month and date that you need to get it done.  For example, if I need to
complete and submit an article to a publication that my target audience reads on
December 15, 2008, I would put the contact information, due date and a checklist in the
folder for December 15, 2008.  On Dec. 15, everything that needs to be done is in my
tickler file and I can take action.  

What if I am planning to attend a conference on May 17, 2009 and just received the
itinerary, I would put the itinerary in the 2009 file folder and when the 2009 arrives, the
itinerary will be moved to the month of May in the 17th file folder.   Tickler files
should also be in sync with your daily planner.  It is best to put your tickler file system
in a file/desk drawer, or even a box. Keep it simple; however, avoid the temptation to
put it on your office desk.

Now it's time to file. Peruse through all the papers that you initially cleared off your
desk and file them into your tickler file system accordingly.  If you find
correspondences that are outdated, unimportant or does not need you to respond,
throw those excess papers in the trash and clear the clutter.

Review your tickler file daily.

Keep a Planner / Calendar on desk

Your desk should have a planner or calendar which shows you the date and a list of all
the tasks & activities that need to be completed during that particular day.  Use your
planner to jot down any quick notes, telephone messages or frequently used telephone
numbers, this system will prevent you from writing information on multiple sheets of
paper or sticky notes and it will serve as the primary place to store notes and
messages. Notes & Messages will be easily retrievable when you are in need to review
them.  You will no longer have to wonder, "Where did I put it?" and waste time
looking for any messages or notes.

Viola! You have created an organized desk (in 15 min.) that is ready for your

About the author: Bridgette Boudreaux is the owner of Soaring to Achievements, Inc.
"Teaching Female Small Biz Owners To Get It All Done" Visit her web site at:
Your Time 2 Soar.

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