Spring Clean Your Desk

Have you ever looked at your desk and wondered, where did all the paperwork and Post-its come from? Organizing a cluttered desk can seem like a daunting task, especially when you have 20 other priorities. But according to a recent OfficeTeam survey, nearly one-third of human resources managers interviewed said they would question an employee’s organizational skills and effectiveness if that person had an unkempt workspace.

To make sure you aren’t seen as the office slob, use these three easy tips to get your professional workspace more organized:

  1. Take time. Set aside 20 minutes at least once per month and sort through the papers, files and to-do lists strewn across your desk. It’s easy to let paperwork pile up over time, but sorting through everything will help you stay on top of your work. Make a pile of things to throw away, one of things to save for later use, and one of top priorities.

  2. Go easy on the decorations. Sure, expressing your personality with personal pictures and knick-knacks can make you feel more at home in your work environment, but don’t go overboard. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-expression, but keep it work appropriate. Don’t display that nice bottle of whiskey you received over the holidays, or pin a couple dozen photos of your sweetheart to your cubicle walls. Sometimes when decorating, less is more.

  3. Remember your e-files. Cleaning up your desk applies to your computer. Do you have 50 Word and PowerPoint documents saved on your desktop?  Does it take you a few minutes to even locate the file you need to open? Create new folders on your computer and sort your work into those for easy access. You’ll be surprised how much more productive you can be when you know just where to go for that document you need.

Having an organized space will give you peace of mind and allow you to work more efficiently. It also presents you in a more professional light to your co-workers and manager. So clean up those sandwich crumbs and throw away the empty chip packages and water bottles. Keep your personal mementos office appropriate — and, when all else fails, at least keep the clutter contained to a designated spot.