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Get Organized! Organize your desk the easy way

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Last week, we focused on emptying that messy desk. Today, we’re going to put everything back together, only much better organized than before.

While the desk is empty and at its lightest, decide if it’s in the best place. If you are a teacher, consider putting the desk in the back of the room. For those times you sit at the desk while students work independently, you can see them, but they can’t see you. Classroom management becomes a little easier. 

For those in an office, rearrange the furniture to cut distractions. Are you up every time someone passes by the door? Does the arrangement invite others to drop in and stay as long as they like?

Do you have to roll your chair to work at your computer? On the other hand, does your computer occupy prime real estate on your desk? I like an L-shaped work space. Something as simple as a small folding table placed at a right angle to the desk provides an easy setup. The keyboard, computer and telephone go on the side table. With the swivel of the chair, you can work either on your desk or on your computer. The extra surface for holding the computer equipment and telephone allows your desktop to be clean. 

Let's load that desk

Secure a drawer organizer for the lap drawer. It will corral that handful of rubber bands, paper clips, and binder clips and keep them from spreading all over the drawer. Several pencils, pens and highlighters will find homes in the organizer. A ruler, letter opener, and small magnifying glass should fit nicely.

Use the large file drawer for your tickler file. If not already fitted with rails for hanging files, make a run to the office supply store and get a set. If you use your tickler file, not only does the desktop stay clear, but you don’t find yourself sticking papers in random drawers. 

Choose a drawer for your stapler, tape dispenser, scissors, labeler, hole punch and other small equipment. The back of this drawer could hold several dozen envelopes and some note cards. If you find you have two tape dispensers or two staplers, move one of them out of your desk and to the area where you are keeping extra office supplies.

Can you keep it that way?

When you get rid of the junk and relocate extra office supplies elsewhere, you will be amazed at how much room you actually have in your desk and how good it can look. But old habits are hard to break. Stop tossing miscellaneous items in a desk drawer just to get them out of the way. 

Everybody needs an inbox, in some form. It’s the home for newly arriving paper or physical objects. It’s the holding tank for items awaiting a decision about what they mean to you and where they need to go. Getting to the bottom of that inbox on a daily basis keeps junk from accumulating and tasks from falling through the cracks. 

You spend lots of time at your desk. Instead of apologizing about the mess and beating yourself up for not being able to find anything, why not do something about it? Armed with some large garbage bags and a good strategy, you could transform that workspace in less than a day. It’s too easy not to do.

Frank Buck is the author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders. "Global Gurus Top 30" named him No. 1 in the Time Management category for 2019, 2020, and 2021. Dr. Buck speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach him through his website: FrankBuck.org. Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.