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Keeping a tidy and organized desk will improve your productivity and focus

Some of us a naturally untidy people- even though after extensive spring cleaning, the desk quickly become a cluttered mess each time. And after a while, we just give up trying.

Then one day, as again we are not able to find our stuff, this time an important document, we vow to tidy up our desks and put everything in their rightful order and files. So we dedicate about half a day just cleaning up.

Things seemed fine for a while….and a few days later, the desk becomes cluttered again.

Even though some may protest that they work better in a cluttered desk, the truth is, if we are disorganized, we really spend longer time looking for stuff and going through things. And at the back of our minds, something will always bug us- perhaps we forgot to do something important, and we find that on some occasions, we are right because we really forget because the important to-do list get buried in the piles of documents.

There’s something about clutter that messes with the mind- causing it to be knotted, stuck and stifle the flow of creative energy. No doubt, you can still complete our tasks but we would require more brain energy and more cups of coffee. We have to strain ourselves more- so we end up feeling more exhausted- even when we are doing things that we like.

Once you start throwing away things you don’t need, or filling them away in their proper place (a process that takes you just a few minutes once you dedicate 5 minutes a day to doing it), you will find that your mind seemed to be more light and less cluttered. Ideas flow more freely, you will feel more focused instead of being chronically ‘overwhelmed’.

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Confession of a recovering disorganized person:

I must admit, I have always been naturally disorganized. But now I work for a boss that believes in a paperless environment- and keeping clutter to an absolute minimum. And I thought that I was being quite tidy- I mean, at least the piles of paper are neatly stacked on my right, above the printer and on the counter top. There are still piles of paper by they are stacked neatly.

But my colleague commented that my desk is actually untidy by normal standards and it is a surprise that my boss had not mentioned anything about it.

Still, one day I decided to just clear off the pile of papers located on:

  • The right side of my desk
  • On top of my scanner
  • Above my printer
  • On top of the counter located near my desk

Here’s what I did:

  • I throw away obsolete items
  • Some paper that can be recycled- I put it aside at a special place
  • For urgent tasks- I put in a purple transparent file. For to-do lists, I put in a clear folder.
  • Bits of paper that I’ve jot down as notes- ie to call back some people, to check things, are neatly updated in dairy.

As the result, I noticed that I am more focused at the task in hand. My job has a lot of variety of things to do (that’s what keeps it interesting) and to stay focus at one task at a time is important. So now, I am constantly committed to keep my work desk tidy because it works.

At home, there used to be a stack of letters stacked next to my laptop where I work after office hours in my little blogging venture. Because I find that keeping stacks of paper properly further improve the job efficiency and focus, I did the same for my makeshift little home working space.

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Bills (paid and unpaid) mixing together causes anxiousness subconsciously to us. What if we forgets to pay the electricity or phone bill and our electricity/phone connection gets cut off? That worry will always be at the back of our mind. The best is to learn to create a simple system to track our bill due dates and payments. The unpaid ones can put in a To-do file and the paid ones in another file to be filed away later.

Regardless of what, put them and the letters out of sight if you want to focus on your work.

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