For some people, organization is second nature. For others, it does not come naturally at all, and they live in a state of constant chaos. If you are the latter, read on for tips on how to organize your desk for maximum productivity.

1. Clear Everything Off

The first step in organizing your desk is to clear everything off – and we mean everything. Disconnect the phone. Unplug the computer monitor. Remove all papers, files, and stationery. By doing this, you will have a completely clear space and know exactly how much space you have to work with.

2. Clean All Surfaces

In this rare occasion, when the top of your desk is completely clear, give the surface a wipe over with a cloth and disinfectant. Don’t forget your computer keyboard as well – it’s one of the dirtiest items in your office and one of the hardest to clean. Try tunning strips of sticky tape through the spaces between keys to pull out all the dust, crumbs, and other bits that build up over time.

3. Look at what you can get rid of

Do you really need four different notebooks on your desk or that big bulky diary? If you are responsible for meetings and appointments, consider going paperless and investing in appointment booking software. Limit other stationery supplies to the essentials, and store them in the same place all the time. You don’t need a whole pot full of blue pens – one or two good quality ones will do. When you’re finished writing, always place the pen or pencil back in its designated spot. By removing unnecessary stationery and papers, you will immediately find your desk – and your mind – is a lot clearer.

4. Limit Personal Items

One of the most significant distractions on your desk is clutter in the form of personal items. While it is nice to have a photo or a souvenir from a trip, it is important to limit yourself as much as possible. Three or fewer is a good number to help you to avoid distractions and stay focused.

It is important to remember that organization is an ongoing process, which never happens overnight, particularly if you are naturally prone to being disorganized. While it may not take you long to organize your desk, keeping it that way for more than a day or two can be tough.
It is going to need your attention every day until the process of organization becomes a habit, so stick with it.

Keep in mind that what works for your colleague may not necessarily work for you, and that is absolutely fine. If you can keep your desk organized with a horizontal filing system instead of a vertical system, then that’s what you need to do. In this case, it’s less about the process and more about the result. Just keep in mind that in most cases, a clear and uncluttered desk = a clear and uncluttered mind.