It turns out the old adage is true: a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind, and when it comes to needing to focus for an extended period of time, we all need any help we can get. To get the most out of your work or study routine, use these tips to help minimize mess and optimize productivity.

  1. Start Out Strong
  2. neat desk facing wall of photosBegin by defining your work space. Is it a desk? Where will it be? What should be there? What shouldn’t? Make these choices at the beginning of the year, and set up an organization scheme sooner rather than later. Treat every inch of free space like valuable real estate, and if your desk is big enough, invest in some basic office organization tools. Trays, dividers, labels, accordion folders, and the like will create a place for everything and help you keep things in order.

  3. Banish Trash
  4. Half the battle of organization is discriminating between trash and the essentials. Always keep a trash can and recycling bin close by. Don’t let food wrappers, useless papers, or any other trash have the chance to build up—deal with trash quickly and efficiently. Remember to take regular breaks to maintain productivity. Use this time to clear your mind and your work space.

  5. Consolidate
  6. close-up of cluttered deskWe all know what it is to feel like you’re drowning under a mountain of papers. Protect your work area from the buildup by consolidating your resources. Organize your notes, books, and supplies by subject or project. Use only the supplies you need for the project at hand, and put any extraneous supplies out of sight. You could also consider going the digital route to consolidate. Make digital copies of any notes, and you’ll find you’ve cut down those mountains to manageable mole hills.

    The best defense against mess is a good offense. An organized desk and work space can increase productivity and lower stress. Do your best to get out in front of the clutter, and you’ll thank yourself later.