A nicely organized desk space.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons

It’s no secret that you can learn a lot about a person by looking at the way they keep their desk. Or their car, or their desktop background, or maybe even their fridge. And while a desk may often be a pretty accurate summation of a personality, desk spaces also represent great opportunities to be more efficient in whatever you do. I can’t stand a messy desk even though everything else in my life is hot nonsense, and even I swear by some of these tips! And, I promise, not every article I write is going to be a listicle from now on.

Get stuff you don’t need off your desk.

Look around you. Do you spy with your little eyes items you don’t use on a daily basis? Get them gone! If it’s something that doesn’t work or that you can’t remember a time when you did use it, pass it along or throw it away. Keep only necessary, relevant things on your desk. If you need to do some reorganizing to make a better system, now is the time, captains.

Organize your computer files and desktop.

Remember what I said earlier about being able to know what a person’s all about by looking at their desktops? I lied. You should know nothing about a person by their desktop. And by that I mean the arrangement should be clean, crisp, and efficient: like your actual desktop, clear out any icons or programs you don’t use or that won’t be helpful to you. Keep files nicely organized so you can get to them easily.

Tidy things up at the end of the day.

Much like coming back from a vacation to a messy house, coming into work to a messy workspace is pretty unpleasant. Take a few minutes at the end of each work day to make sure you’ve put away your pens and sticky notes, wiped things down if you need to, laid out your papers in the order you might need them, and made sure you know where everything is that you will need the next day. Definitely clean out any dirty dishes and old coffee cups! Don’t ask me how I know this, but old coffee gets a particularly funky kind of mold if you leave it out too long.

Think about how your desk is arranged.

In addition to the things above, there are other small measures you can take to ensure a productive workday. For example, keeping pictures of loved ones can help ease stress; small plants encourage relaxation and help productivity; and make sure your monitors are set up comfortably and ergonomically. Check out this chart that illustrates what a great workspace could do for you!