5 steps to a tidy desk

You won’t believe all the excuses I get from people about their untidy desks.

“It’s because I’m creative” or “I know where everything is”.

Sound familiar?

This may very well be true. However, for most people, an untidy desk makes you feel overwhelmed and out of control. It also gives other people the impression that you’re less than competent.


The good news is that getting your desk organised is a lot easier than you think. You can have a tidy desk in just 5 steps:

1. Set up your desk properly

If you answer the phone with your left hand, then keep the phone to the left of your computer. Now this might seem obvious but you’ll be surprised at the number of people I encounter who have to scramble and reach behind their computer to get to the phone. It’s like playing Twister.

2. Touch each piece of paper once only

This is going to force you to make decisions – throw away, action, forward or file. Those are the only choices you have 😉

3. Have one notebook for all your notes

When you take messages or need to quickly jot down a note, write it in your ONE notebook. You shouldn’t have 10 post-it notes and lots of other pieces of paper on your desk. Better still, write the date on the top of every page so you can reference old information quickly. And start each day on a new page, literally!

4. Clear junk regularly

Every time you get up to go to the loo or for a coffee break, clear your desk of empty mugs, glasses, snacks, etc. The same goes for all those dry markers and pens that don’t work. Throw them out!

5. Have only the papers you’re actually working with on your desk

I have a rather strong fondness for plastic envelopes. I use these nifty tools to keep my many projects sorted. When I want to work on something, I just grab one of these and open up the contents on my desk.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

You can also have a neat and tidy desk in just 5 steps.

Now what you should do is do a quick, 30-second tidy every evening when you finish your work so you’re ready and raring to go the following day.

On the scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being very messy, I can barely find my keyboard to 10 being my desk is like a Pinterest pic, where is your desk?

Click over to the comments and see what number I give my desk 🙂

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  1. Marcia Francois says

    My desk is about an 8 when I start and it moves to about a 4 – 5 while I work, and then back to an 8.

    It will never be a 10 because I don’t like things too minimalistic, so I always have photo frames out and pens in a bright colourful jar, and of course, my spiral-bound notebook out.

  2. Charmaine says

    I would say my desk is at an 8 as well, it’s not Pintrestworthy yet IMO but pretty close


  1. […] 💛 Outer order, inner calm. If you’re like 60% of the population and you’re feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, tidy your desk. […]

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