15th October 2020

Organise your desk space to improve productivity

Whether you are working in the office, shared coworking space or at home, your desk is central to what you do. And how well your workspace and desk are organised can set the tone for productivity. Furthermore, an organised space can help save time. Just think about how frustrating it is when you can’t find something. Add to that an impending deadline, and this can be cause for unnecessary stress.

So here are a few suggestions for organising your desk to maximise efficiency and productivity.

Firstly, your monitor should be in front of you at eye-level. Place frequently-used items, like the phone, on your dominant side, to avoid having to reach across. Leave some free space on this side too for a notepad or to sign documents – but do not let loose papers, documents and books pile up in this space.

You can keep frequently used stationary on your desk, but items that are only used a couple of times a week or infrequently should be put away in a drawer or cupboard.

Try not to go overboard with personal items. Although nice to have, these will take up space and can become a distraction. Our eyes and brain are processing everything in view, even when we are not consciously doing so. A desk full of random things means a lot more mental work and increases the chance that we will get drawn away from our focus. Organisation experts tend to recommend no more than three personal items.

Further to distractions, more and more of us are embracing duel screens. Where sometimes it can help and be necessary, at times when it is not actively being used set the secondary monitor to sleep. Try not to leave it on your email inbox or have notifications as this will continually disrupt your focus and cause you to break from the job at hand.

Mobile phone and app notifications can have the same impact. Unless necessary, keep your phone in your drawer or at least out of your immediate peripheral vision, especially when you need to turn around work quickly. Think we all know how enticing the blinking notification light can be.

The right desk size for your job will help to keep distractions out of your immediate eye-line, as well as help avoid a lack of space becoming a nuisance.

Stay organised and limit mess piling up by regularly reassessing your desk. Do a quick tidy at the end of each day to start the following morning with everything in its place. Then a weekly clear out to remove anything that has not been used recently.

Overall, productivity can be helped through being disciplined about what you need, and don’t need, limiting distractions, and making sure things that help your work are conveniently accessible.

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