“A place for everything, everything in its place.”
– Benjamin Franklin
A pile of paperwork on your desk can have you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It can also give others a bad impression of you and adversely affect your productivity. Although some administrators may think they know where everything is no matter how tall the stack, having a lot of paper on your desk can be a potential risk. Simply put, when your desk is unorganized and full of papers, you can easily miss deadlines, lose important documents or expose confidential information to others.
Getting Your Desk Clean
Getting your desk clean might appear to be an insurmountable task, however, it is a good investment of your time. A clean desk will help you stay focused and in control. You might want to take a weekend to work on decluttering your desk when no one else is in the office. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Do a Purge
Start organizing your desk by setting up three piles – one for items you don’t want, another for items to be filed or stored, and yet another that you need to work on or make a decision for. After you’ve tossed away what you don’t want and stored older files, you’ll be surprised how much of a dent you will have made in your desk clutter.
Recycle old magazines and newspapers. Don’t be afraid to do this as most resource information is readily available online. You can also scan in articles to your desktop that you might want to reference in the future.
Make Project Files
Your keep stack can be organized further with poly file folders and sorters. You can label them by project, department or task for even better organization.
Keeping Your Desk Clean
Start every day with a clean desk. Take 5-10 minutes in the evening before leaving for home or clean it each morning while enjoying a cup of coffee. To keep your desk cleaned and organized, you should implement the following strategies:
Create a Filing System
You should have a place for every piece of paper on your desk. This includes incoming mail and things that you need to make a decision on. Again, a system like tray folders can help with this.
Go Paperless When Possible
Cut down on paper by avoiding it altogether. This should be done for things like purchase orders, employee evaluations and all district communications. Along with keeping your desk clean, going paperless can also save the district money in printing and copies.
Toss Sales Literature
Get rid of sales literature and junk mail immediately. If it is something you might be interested in, take a photo of it or scan it in your computer system. You can also keep a file in a back drawer for coupons and other sales materials. If you don’t toss it, you’ll just shuffle it from corner to corner of your desk.
Make cleaning a habit and don’t be afraid to throw things away. You’ll be surprised how much a clean desk will improve your mood and set the right example for your staff.