This article is all about how to organize your desk in 3 minutes or less. If you do this each day before you leave, and between projects or client work, you'll never suffer with a messy desk again.
Let's take an imaginary tour of a typical office. You might see breakfast or lunch containers, client files, more client files, the ever-present coffee cup, a desktop or laptop computer, more client files, papers that have been printed, items to read, mail from the day before, more client files on the credenza, and perhaps books, magazines and newspapers to read. If you've recently been to a networking meeting, you might also have car keys, business cards and handouts.
Now, in three minutes, you can quickly and efficiently clear up and compartmentalize all of these items. It'll take a combination of filing, piling, and decision-making. If you do this daily, it really will only take three minutes.
First off, get rid of the food, snacks, and coffee cups that don't need to be there (of course, if the coffee cup is full of hot, delicious coffee, it stays).
Second, pull together any loose papers that relate to each other (for instance, the papers all relate to a client project). Using a sticky note, label them Project No. 1, Project No. 2, etc. If you have random bits of paper for presentation or webinar ideas, it's important to collect them, label them and separate them from other client papers and folders.
Third, gather up those client folders. File away any of them that you aren't currently working on. Then, pile up the ones you will work on soon.
Fourth, pull together those random bits of paper - notes, calls to return, mail to open and handle, business cards to enter, etc.
Finally, decide which of these piles gets attention first. Perhaps Pile No. 1 is the one with calls to return, business cards to enter, etc. Pile No. 2 is current client work that needs to be done today or tomorrow.
And then pile No. 3 could be the projects you want to work on, but that aren't related specifically to clients.
One of the best organizing tips out there is to put "like with like." This means your piles contain similar things, all your books are together, etc.
Again, if you follow these steps daily - at the end of the day and between projects or client work - you'll know how to organize your desk in three minutes or less.
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