Eliminate Items From Your Desk by Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D.
To be able to work productively at the desk in your classroom or office (or other workspace), you need to have easy access to those items you need…and that means getting rid of those items that you don’t. Consider these items to eliminate:
- Things you used to like but don’t anymore. Look around and see if you can spot something that fits this category. Get rid of it.
- Desk “accessories” that aren’t. You accessorize your clothes, not your desk. The accessories often take up more space than they supposedly save and if they are constantly falling over, needing to be re-oriented or otherwise paid attention to, are no longer serving a positive purpose. Eliminate them.
- Excess anything (paper, sticky notes, paperclips, coffee cups). You are not an office supply store. Keep enough on hand to do your work and move the rest to another storage area, back to the office, or into the Goodwill box to give away.
- Piles (of anything). Papers, folders, books, magazines, journals. These end up in piles and piles are not productive. If you see a pile, deal with it or dump it.
- Pantyhose (maybe one pair for an emergency). This is representative of all kinds of funny things that you might find in your desk. Pantihose, extra shoes, hairbrushes (galore), feminine products (and you’ve had a hysterectomy in the last 3 years), you get the picture. Clear out the clutter and excess!
- Food in large quantities (or with an expiration date in the 20th century). Take a look and see what you find. Challenge your colleagues to find the oldest food item in anyone’s desk and give a prize. Hope that you don’t win it.
- Makeup, lotion, chapstick, etc. that has become a hazardous material. Scary.
- Knick-knacks. Knick-knacks are given by friends, colleagues, the school secretary, students, family, and other well-meaning folks. Move them along and away from your work space. They don’t help you.
- MULTIPLE pictures. A few very dear pictures are a nice reminder and distraction. Many pictures just add clutter.
- Anything that distracts from your overall productivity. See #1 – 9 and then see what hasn’t already been covered yet but is a distraction to you.
Remember: Your desk is a place where you do your work. Anything that distracts you from that work or that clutters your space (and thus your mind), must be eliminated from this productive space.
And if you liked these tips you may be interested in the Get a Plan! Guide® to Ridding Your Workspace of Clutter part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion.