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Productivity Linked To Clean Desks

Oct 21, 2007
It may not be a surprise that recent studies have shown that people with clean desks tend to be, well, more productive. Thirty-three percent more productive to be exact. Is it because they have less work to clutter up their desktops? Hardly. The study also measured productivity in relation to organization skills and those who stay better organized, not only have tidier offices, but they also waste less time looking for things through piles of disorganized paperwork and more time getting their work done.

Whether you're naturally neat and clean or messy may have a lot to do with how you were raised and whether you are a right- or left-brained thinker. But that doesn't mean that your genes need to dictate how productive you can be. There are several ways to tidy up that workspace and here are some tips to help you get started even if you're a complete pack rat.

First, focus on keeping your desk clean. Lots of workspace will help you spread out your paper work when you need to, without losing papers, misplacing things, forgetting documents or misfiling the wrong items together. Start by freeing up some desktop space by getting that bulky computer monitor off the desk. A monitor arm, mounted to the side or back of your desk, will not only give you about twenty-five percent more room to work, it'll also allow you to tilt your monitor to control glare.

Second, never, ever keep your keyboard on your desktop. If you're still reaching up to your desktop to type on your keyboard, it's time to move into the new millennium. Articulating keyboard trays and drawers not only give you added space, but they provide the ergonomics your body needs to prevent fatigue and other more serious conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Third, keep only the items you use often on your desk. Take a good look at some of the things you may keep within reach daily, but only use a few times a week: staplers, three-hole punches, reference books, calculators, etc. If you don't use them every single day, put them away and take them out only when you're working on a project that requires them.

Fourth, create files and use them. As soon as a project begins, create a file for it--even if it's only temporary--and keep the files for your active projects close to your desk. Move all other files to a filing cabinet.

Fifth, stop using sticky notes. Nothing clutters up a workspace faster than sticky notes that tend to fall off the thing they're supposed to be stuck to anyway. Keep a single notebook on your desk and write all pertinent information in your notebook throughout the day. If you need something, you'll know exactly where to find it and when it's no longer important, rip out the page and file it in the appropriate file.

With a little overhaul of your behavior and your desk, you can become much more productive and that may mean the difference between a promotion or not.
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