Mon. Jul 4th, 2022

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
Yesterday, I did a thorough cleaning at work and brought home three pairs of shoes that had been in my office drawer. They were tucked under my desk. It’s almost winter now, and those strappy heels made of linen are not going to withstand the constant rain. It got me thinking about tidying things up, so today I am bringing you a guest blog from Nicolas Soergel (CEO of the Japanese subsidiary T-Systems, a Deutsche Telekom group company). It’s all about cleaning up.
Many of us spend a lot of our time at work or at a desk. There is much debate about whether a clean desk improves productivity. No matter which side you are on, one thing remains constant: a clean desk is a hallmark of an organized person.
If you want to feel more productive, these are the ten rules that will help you quickly set up and maintain a clean desk.
1. You can have an inbox and an outsidebox
You can organize your document traffic by putting all new items in your inbox. Keep them there until you are ready for work.
2. Clean your desk everyday
Make cleaning your desk a daily, end-of-the-day task instead of a once a month or weekly event. This will reduce the amount of effort required to maintain it. A bonus is that you’ll have a clean desk when you arrive at work every morning.
3. Don’t use sticky notes
Post-its are a wonderful invention. Overuse and dispersed around your office can lead to the item being forgotten or even lost. Instead, keep a notepad at your desk so you can write down any reminders or notes.
You can then go through your notes throughout the day and update your to do list. As you complete each task, mark them off. You can also use the electronic version on your computer if you absolutely cannot live without post-its.
4. Do not collect magazines and newspapers
Many piles I’ve seen in offices of other people are made from magazines and newspapers that they intend to read later. The piles’ height often correlates to the feeling of despair from trying to get through all that stuff. You can save the article or magazine you don’t want and copy it later.
5. Take your books home
Many people have a lot of personal books that they keep in their office. These books are often displayed in an office, but they are rarely used. Take a look at the books on your desk. You can either move them to a bookshelf or donate them to a library.
6. Each document should be handled once
It is common for documents to pile up on your desk because you start something but then don’t finish it. Try to process a document to done when you are working on it. This will allow you to move it to the outbox or filing area, and not to keep it in the ‘to do” pile.
7. Reduce the number of pens
Have you ever compared the number of pens on your desk to the actual number of pens that you actually use every day? You can keep the 2 or 3 favorites pens and throw away any other pens that you don’t use or don’t like.
The same applies to markers: generally, two or maximum three colors suffice.
8. Staple documents, don’t clip
Stitched documents that belong together should not be clipped, but stapled. Paper clips can become loose, so you may have to spend more time sorting papers. Keep a high-quality, electric stapler on your desktop.
9. Do not save files for anyone else
You should move any files or materials that you don’t want other people to see to a different place.
10. This should be done for four weeks
Research shows that it takes around a month for something to become a habit. These tips can be used for four weeks to keep your desk tidy. You may be amazed at how you managed to live with a messy desk.

By Adam