Monday, Jan. 9 is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. It originated from Anne Chase Moeller, who is the daughter of one of the co-founders of Chase’s Calendar of Events, a publication showcasing special events, federal and state observances, and holidays. She often helped out at her father’s office, but he had an incredibly messy desk. Just for Anne to work, she had to cover the mess with a cloth and remove the cloth when she finished. Getting so frustrated with the mess, she made her father promise to clean off his desk at least once a year. To enforce it, they put National Clean Off Your Desk Day in Chase’s Annual Events book in 1982 as the second Monday of every January.
The old saying “a cluttered desk is a sign of genius” isn’t always true, and a messy desk can interfere with your productivity at work. To help celebrate National Clean Off Your Desk Day, here are some quick hints to help you clear the workplace clutter and boost efficiency at work.
Trash Your Stash
Take a minute to quickly glance around your workspace. Odds are there will be some crumpled up pieces of paper, candy wrappers, empty paper cups, or junk mail laying around. If you have to ask whether it’s trash or not, don’t throw it away just yet. You can deal with that later. All you need to do right now is a basic sweep of your area for any obvious trash. As you scan, take the junk and throw it away. Don’t give too much thought in deciding if something is worth keeping or not. Just use a minute to locate and toss any obvious trash.
Proper Paper Piling
Write down all of your daily work duties like bills, receipts, invoices, reports, phone messages, or any other reasons you need to keep and separate pieces of paper. Take stacks from your work area and sort the papers into an area that matches one of your daily tasks list. You don’t need to figure out or make decisions on the tasks themselves, just sort them into neater stacks. It’s possible you’ll have to add categories as you sort, and you might find trash-worthy items along the way.
There’s no Place Like Home
Now that the paper is organized, look for miscellaneous items like books, folders, and tools that are lying around and put them back where they belong. You should try to keep your books and folders organized on a shelf or some place that’s easy to reach, but separate from your workplace. If you find items that don’t have a home in your work place yet, find a location that is away from the area you work in the most and come back to it later.
Seal with Sanitation
Now that everything is squared away or organized, take a minute to grab disinfectant wipes, or spray and a paper towel, and quickly wipe down the areas with high traffic in your workspace. For many, the workspace is like a second home and more time is spent there than anywhere else. It’s important to keep that place clean not only from clutter, but also from germs and bacteria.
Be a Rock Star Worker
Congratulations! Your office is now cleaner and more organized. Now that you’ve taken the time to organize your stacks into categories, you have a clear list of duties to take care of when you get back to work. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish if you take 10 to 15 minutes a day to deal with the piles of papers. Just deal with one category at a time and figure out your next plan of action on each piece of paper or information. What do you plan to do with all the free time achieved by your newly-found productivity? What are some quick and easy ways you’ve cleaned your workspace? Let us know in the comments section.