We know you’ve been inundated with “holidays” since roughly Labor Day so we didn’t want to bother you when we learned that Jan. 12 was “National Clean Your Desk Day.” Truthfully every day should be clean your desk day – a clean desk keeps you efficient (more time for families and happy hours) and keeps you and your co-workers healthy.
So here are our guidelines to make – and keep – a clean desk at work:
- Put ‘Em Up! – Everyone’s got at least one computer monitor on their desk that displays charts, stock tickers, heartbeat monitors, spreadsheets – stuff to demonstrate that you are busy and important. Well get them off your desk and onto a stand. Raising them will make you seem even more important but will free up critical desk space that can be useful.
- Supply and Demand – Stop getting up six times a day to go to the supply closet. If you’re going to need paper clips, keep paper clips in your drawer. Make sure pads, pens, file folders and everything else you need every day is within arms’ reach.
- Garbage In, Garbage Out – We know we’re telling you less is better, but a stacked in/out tray is critical. Don’t be the guy who forgets to update the TPS Reports because they ended up under your fantasy football roster, or Subway sandwich.
- Color Me Organized – Use colored file folders for your projects/clients, and keep them in an upright file system on or next to your desk. This will reduce the paper piles and allow you to grab folders on the go.
- Clean Your Desktop – We mean your computer desktop. Stop guessing where files are (“Was that on the desktop or the “Draft Reports” folder?”) and organize all your computer files in a few simple folders, and subfolders, on your computer. (We know this isn’t cleaning your “desk” but it’s 2020 so we have to talk some tech, no?)
- Clean Your Desktop – No, we are not repeating ourselves. NOW we’re talking about cleaning the physical space. Yes, your cleaning professional will wipe down your desktop – if it’s free of clutter! But have some disinfecting wipes and cleaners for your computer screen and keyboard too. You can never be clean enough!
- Hold Your Horses – So you’ve sent that smugly grandiose email to your boss and it’s 4:58 – close enough, right? Wrong. File your papers, clean out your bag, put all the pens in the cup and admire your loved ones in that picture frame. Set up a successful tomorrow by doing two minutes of organizing and cleaning. You’ll sleep better and be a better employee the next day.
Bosses hate clutter, even though you might defend it as “an organized mess.” They don’t care. And it does cost you time, and probably needless stress. Be better in 2020 and free yourself, and your desk space. Then you can mock Messy Marvin from marketing with a clean conscience.