It’s National Clean Your Desk Day!
Do you use your desk? I don’t mean for setting stuff on. Do you really, truly, use it? Because I don’t.
Well… there’s makeup on my desk right now, because the other room is too damn cold and the only thing I was doing in that room was makeup. Seemed like a waste of gas and electricity.
My bed is my primary desk. I know, I know, it’s not a good set-up for productivity. Bed should be for bed stuff. Sleep and other… activities. But once we got laptops, our “desks” (especially as bloggers, whether casual or full time) became our laps, or whatever area is in front of us, if you prefer writing while laying down.
Why doesn’t this work?
Your body gets in modes, and routines. At work (if you work) you work. If your normal routine at work is to get in a 2 o’clock slump, then your body is ready for it and will slip into it easily every day. So if you’re trying to work in bed… one (or two) of two things will happen:
- You’ll have trouble being productive, because your body is used to relaxing and knowing you’re supposed to be getting ready for rest or at least down time when you lay down in bed.
- You’ll have trouble sleeping, because your body is used to working and being productive or entertained in bed.
Neither one of these sounds like a great plan. But my bed is my BFF some days. Well, new year new habits, that’s gonna change.
Step 1: Clean (and clean OFF) Your Desk
Take it all off. Move it aside, set it in a box or on your bed or another table or chair. Grab the Windex or whatever cleaner you use and a rag or paper towels. Wipe all the surfaces down. Empty out drawers and vacuum them out if you need to.
My mind always wanders while I clean, so I spent the time thinking about what I need my desk for, and how I want it to look and function.
I really think the key to making your desk work as a work station is figuring out what you need. It seems obvious, but if you start looking at desk organization you can find tons of ideas that are so generalized that it doesn’t even feel like they’ll help you. Or you’ll fall in love with an idea for how you want it to look… but does that look work in function for the way YOU work?
I work clean. I don’t want my elbow to hit things. I don’t want clutter or cute things distracting me or I will start playing with them.
Step 2: Define what you want (or need) to do at your desk
Things I want to do at my desk:
– Review to do list
– Review blog schedule
– Monitor project progress
– (Temporarily) Basic makeup
That’s not really that much. It means I need a place for my laptop or tablet, my desktop calendar, my planner, a notebook, and whatever pens I’m addicted to using that week.
Step 2.5: Define what is best stored at your desk
– Coloring utencils
– Coloring books
– Camera equipment
– Scentsy (coffee melts for productivity work amazing)
– (Temporarily) Daily makeup
– Desktop calendar
– Tablet / Laptop
– 2 Notebooks
– 2 Journals
Step 3: Start organizing
This part is really all you. But the blank slate will help you a lot. Work with the cubbies, surfaces, and drawers that you have. And if you get stuck, ask yourself some questions:
– What do you need to use every day?
– What won’t you remember to do or use if you can’t see it first thing?
– Do you prefer taking things out to use them, or having them set-up and ready?
– Are there things you don’t need?
While you’re organizing… only put stuff you need or need to use back on the desk first. Or things that make you happy. If you aren’t sure what something is for or why you have it, leave it for last. There’s a chance you’ll be happy with what you have and you’ll reduce the potential for clutter by just tossing or giving away what’s left over.
Remember to throw out unnecessary papers, scan (or photograph) and file the important ones, and start the new year with a clean slate and reduced time to find anything you need all year.