by Ken Sterling | April 25, 2017
No, "reshuffling" doesn't count as cleaning. Keep your office extra organized and watch your productivity soar.

Are you afraid that those piles of paper atop your desk will collapse if you type too vigorously? Have you taken to stealing office pens because you lost your own long ago? If you're spending more time searching for things than actually doing things, it's time to undergo a desk revolution.

Though maintaining a neat desk comes more naturally to some than to others, we guarantee an organized workspace will pave the way for a more harmonious, productive day for all employees, no matter their work style.

So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to transform your desk (or help workers transform theirs) into a gleaming example of workplace productivity with these simple hacks. Once your office has finally achieved minimalist dreamland status, you'll thank us for your clean desk -- and your newly uncluttered mind.

1. Can It


Before you begin the de-cluttering process, invest in a small trash can for your desk space. After the initial purge, having a personal bin at your disposal will make it easier to maintain neatness. If you go through a lot of paper in your day-to-day, procure a bin exclusively for paper recycling. With two cans staring you down, you'll have no excuse for the paper pile-up that might have previously defined your desk.

2. Clear Out the Clutter

Remember that trash bag we just spoke about? Get it ready. Now, with a ruthless eye, examine everything currently on or around your desk. Is each item there for a reason? No, you probably don't need that takeout menu, that broken stapler, or those fancy highlighters that you've never used. If you're not using something frequently, remove it from your line of sight. By the end of this de-cluttering process, the non-essential contents of your desktop should be comfortably tucked into a drawer-or tossed in the trash.

3. Everything in Its Place

Many of us disorganized folk like to call the process of dumping items from one place to another "cleaning." However, that kind of lazy shifting-around of items isn't fooling anyone. Without an organizational system in place, your belongings will pile up just as stubbornly as before.

Instead, be smart about organizing your drawers. Create a system using
drawer dividers to ensure that your electronic cables, writing utensils, sticky notes, and picture of your dog are each designated an appropriate nook or cranny.

Further to this point, every project leaves a paper trail. If you're working on a specific one, keep your documents on hand in a readily accessible "working" folder. While that frequently used folder can remain on your desk, be sure to regularly archive any documents no longer pertinent to your day-to-day business.

4. File Down Your Files


What about all those important documents you can't discard? Thanks to the many blessings of the computer age, there's no excuse to let cumbersome, precarious stacks of papers take up physical space in your office. With careful pre-planning, you can design a paperless filing system that works for your company's specific needs.

That said, if your business's constraints don't allow for a tech-savvy switchover, then it's time to revamp your existing filing system. By keeping a neatly labeled filing cabinet near your desk, you'll never have to rummage around for an important document again.

5. Invest in a Labeler

Who doesn't get a thrill out of a label maker? These handy gadgets will help you maintain an organized system, especially for your filing cabinets and drawers. The next time someone comes by your office with an important document, they'll know just where to put it-thanks to your neatly labeled inbox.

6. Own It

We never said being a minimalist had to be boring. With all your freed up workspace, your beloved items can take center stage on your newly bare desk. Whether it's a framed picture or a low-maintenance plant, there are countless ways to inject your office space with personality. An added bonus? When you feel comfortable at work, creativity naturally ensues.

7. Perform Frequent Check-Ups


Believe it or not, cleaning isn't the hardest part-staying clean is. For those of you who drift towards messiness and disorganization when work becomes hectic, it's crucial that you set aside a weekly (or daily) time for cleaning. To remain extra vigilant, program your "cleaning break" into your calendar alongside lunch dates and conference calls. If you spend a few minutes each day de-cluttering, you'll avoid the need for another systematic overhaul down the line.

We at BigSpeak can attest to the importance of a well-organized office. Over the past three years, we've tripled in size but have remained in the same office space. To fit everyone, we use an assortment of stand-up desks, shared workspaces, common areas, and remote workstations. The solution to keeping this set-up efficient is organizational
 tips like the ones described in this list.

Ken Sterling is the Executive Vice President and Chief Learning Officer at BigSpeak Speaker's Bureau -- the leading keynote and business speakers bureau in the world. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California and a MBA from Babson College. Ken teaches Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Strategy at UC Santa Barbara. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, business consultant and sales and marketing expert. For press interviews, contact marketing@bigspeak.com.