National Clean Up Your Desk Day

Did you know that National Clean Up Your Desk day is Monday, January 14th this year? Every second Monday of January professionals around the country finally get around to putting that old coffee (or tea) cup in the sink. Ok, I might have a few lingering coffee cups myself!

If you are like me, you want to start the new year fresh, which includes freshening your environment. Use my 8 tips to clean and organize your desk:

1. Schedule it: Make a meeting with yourself to organize your desk. By booking the time in your calendar, you are letting yourself (and others) know you are serious about this task. If you already have a scheduled Monday, consider arriving to the office an hour earlier to get this done.

2. Trash it: Remove any old coffee mugs, utensils, or clutter that does not inspire you. Then review your desk for papers you no longer need. I know I typically have convenience copies or marked up drafts on my desk. So, I toss them in the trash (or shredder if they are confidential).

3. Process it: Are piles of paper lingering on your desk because they serve as a reminder of a task to be completed? A better way to track that task is to put it into a To Do list. I use Asana a free cloud based app that you can access from anywhere. Once it is in Asana, I can either trash the paper or scan it.

4. Scan it: Scan your important papers that you need to keep. I have a Fujitsu ScanSnap personal scanner on my desk. At the end of a meeting I scan any paper meeting handouts with my personal scanner onto my computer and trash the paper. Most of my papers are project based, so they get scanned to a specific project folder.

5. Keep it: One way to get rid of paper is to keep that document or email electronically. Do you really need to print out that email? Could you just bring it with you by accessing it on your smartphone or tablet? Or, for those of you that can, why not take notes electronically?

6. File it: And for those documents you absolutely need to keep in paper, file them away in a folder. I have some paper project files. I also have an alphabetical subject file as well. I find that if I am going to go through the trouble of filing a paper document, I want to use a label maker (like Dymo) on my folders to make them look neat. It looks 100% better than handwriting and makes my organizer soul happy.

7. Clean it: Wipe down your desk, telephone, keyboard and computer monitors to get rid of dust bunnies and any germs. Set out any fresh materials needed for business.

8. Maintain it: And, as with any system, it will need maintenance. Ideally you would want to take time keep your desk clean before leaving for the day. But, reality is you may need to book an appointment with yourself once a week to clean up. I think of this as my simple desk time. It is an investment in my sanity. I actually feel better and energized when my desk is clear and organized.

Let me know how your National Clean Your Desk day went in the comments below.

If you want to chat with me about making it easy to manage your emails, documents and paper files feel free to schedule a quick 10-15 minute call: QuickCall

Nitza Medina-Garcia, Certified Records Manager, Records and Information Management Consultant

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