Denise Landers

Article Summary:

Organizing your desk and self can provide a fresh start. Your attitude on entering a clear, well-laid-out space will add a positive slant to each day and more hours of productive output.

Organizing Your Desk and Self Conserves Valuable Time

Think back to your elementary school era, to your first day in a new school year. Regardless of what happened the semester before, you had a chance for a fresh start. There were no time management issues following you. You were dressed in your best clothes, with new supplies, and you walked into a well-laid-out, neat classroom, ready to have a productive year. A desk was assigned where you carefully placed your supplies. Books were passed out, and you added those to the desk contents. You were in control, with no distracting clutter anywhere.

Now jump two months into the school year. Take a look at some of those desks again. Which one most closely resembled yours? Were you the one whose desk still had all the books stacked inside, large textbooks on the bottom, smaller ones on the top, pencils right at the edge inside of the desk for easy access?

Were you the one who appeared to own more books and papers than anyone else in the class because your desk was overflowing? There were books falling on the floor all the time, wrinkled papers sticking out, no pencil or crayons to be found without a major overhaul.

Move ahead a few years to present day. When you walk into your office in the morning, what is your first reaction? Is it excitement about the prospects for the day or dread at having to cope with all the daily demands while operating in disorganization?

Unfortunately you do not often have the opportunity to make a fresh start each year as children do. Instead you tend to keep on accumulating more and more year after year without the chance to clear out your space at the end of a term.

You might begin to resemble the child with the overflowing desk. As he pulls out a book, several other items crash to the floor. Now the class has to wait while he gets his things together. He is using up valuable time, and he is also causing others to lose valuable time.

A similar scenario occurs in everyday work situations. Are you being as effective as you can, or are you bogged down because of all the clutter around you? Have you ever held up a project because you misplaced information or overlooked a deadline?

The first point of entry into your workday is usually the desk. You will never be an efficient time manager if you do not have control of the paper and clutter surrounding you.

Even if your personal area is organized, you are directly affected by the disorganization of colleagues. When they do not have appropriate systems, they end up interrupting you to ask for a report or to question a date. They might show up late for meetings or not follow through on an important project. Their lack of organization leads to numerous inefficiencies, and then to stress and subsequent illnesses. All of these can have a direct impact on you and those around you.

Consider setting aside time once or twice a year to stop, catch up or reorganize, and give yourself a fresh start. Your attitude on entering a clear, well-laid-out space will add a positive slant to each day and more hours of productive output. It is also a great lesson for children.

Denise Landers, productivity trainer, organizing specialist, author of Destination: Organization and owner of Key Organization Systems, Inc. has spent years speaking, training, consulting, and coaching on the topics of time management and effective workflow. To find easy ways to prioritize, focus and improve your team productivity, subscribe for free monthly articles on time management and organizing topics at:

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