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     Organize Your Desk

Everyone knows that clutter can keep you from accomplishing as much as you would like during the day. But there are other time-wasters out there, relating to your workspace layout. Enhance your productivity -- whether you work at an office or from a desk at home -- with these tips for a clean, WELL-ORGANIZED workspace.

A cluttered work surface makes it difficult to CONCENTRATE. This will dramatically reduce your productivity and increase your frustration level. Make sure that you have plenty of clear space to spread out in your work area. Remove anything from your desk that doesn't need to live there -- find another home somewhere else in your office. Keep pictures and decorations to a minimum, and out of the way. And locate a trash or recycle basket near your desk so you have someplace to put unneeded paper, rather than piling it on your work surface to "deal with later".

Think about the kinds of activities you perform in your work area and keep the necessary supplies HANDY. Pens, calculator, stamps, writing paper, envelopes -- what do you use regularly? You should have all the tools necessary within arms reach in your work area. However, be sure to store any EXCESS supplies away from your desk. You don't need to clutter up your desk drawers with dozens of pens or hoard an entire case of paper at your feet. Only keep what you will use nearby -- store the rest an a cabinet or closet elsewhere.

File trays, in/out baskets, desk organizers and drawer dividers are helpful tools in helping you get your workspace organized. Think about what tool would be most USEFUL and why that item is a better solution than another before you buy. Would a file folder work well enough to hold all your prospect information, or would a binder with alphabetical dividers allow you to access that information more quickly? Also take a look at your current office layout and choose organizing supplies that make the most of your existing SPACE.

Get a good office CHAIR that provides adequate support for your back. Lighting should be sufficiently bright. The computer monitor should be positioned at or slightly below eye level so that you aren't straining your neck to see it. If you do a lot of keyboarding, an ERGONOMIC keyboard can help keep your wrists and fingers from getting overworked. And no matter what kind of work you do, take frequent rest breaks if you work long hours at your desk. Get up and move around every 20 to 30 minutes so you won't get stiff and sore.

When you finish using your workspace for the day, set aside a few minutes to clear the DESKTOP of everything but the next day’s projects. Put supplies away, file papers where they belong and where you will find them again (in either a reference file or action file), throw out any trash, and just neaten things up again. When you come in the next morning to a CLEAN and orderly desk, you will be amazed at how your energy is renewed your productivity increases!


Robin Stephens is an organizing consultant and lifestyle management coach. Her company is dedicated to helping individuals and small business get their personal and professional lives in order so they can focus on what's really important. And her e-book "Just Start Somewhere" is available directly through www.OnlineOrganizing.com. You may visit her website at www.yourlifeinorder.com.

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