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Organizing in 10 Minute Blocks: Desk

cluttered and disorganized desk

Keeping my office desk clear is a constant challenge. Ideally it should be cleared every evening when I shut down. Sometimes, I feel so used up that I just walk away from it. I do make a real effort to clear it on Friday before I leave the office but even then, once in a great while I am just too exhausted.

Where does the clutter come from?

It is important for me to understand how I let this happen. When I look at the desk, I see a lot of items that were taken out of my rolling work cart and just dumped on the desk. I was going off on a job to a storage unit and I wanted room in my cart for my lunch and a heavy sweatshirt. I pulled out items I knew I would not need for today and dropped them on my desk.

But wait, there’s more there than that. There is a draft of a blog I am working on plus a newspaper article about hoarding that I set aside to read. Next, I see a half-eaten apple, a water glass, and a coffee mug. And there are some samples of cards from our new product coming out soon. I also see a couple of client folders that still need information added to them.

I see where all the items came from and I realize that they got dropped on my office desk.  They stayed there because of over scheduling my day and not allowing for transition times between projects. It is important that I allow time to put things away before starting on the next project.

Follow this advice

I know better. I just need to follow my own advice.

But, seriously, no one can work at that desk and work there I must. Diane Quintana and I have just finished the production of a deck of cards, Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time, to help declutter hot spots in your home. Each card in the deck has a ten-minute task. I set my timer for 10 minutes and went to work decluttering my desk.

It took 8 minutes to return everything to where it belonged. Items were put back into my cart. Apple, cup, mug went to the kitchen. The blog draft was tossed as it is on my computer. Client files were put in do folder. The newspaper was put on couch to read during lunch. The cards were returned to their box and put away.

organized desk

Control the clutter

In a working area like your desk, it is important to keep clutter under control. If there is clutter lying around it makes it ridiculously hard to concentrate on whatever task you are trying to complete. Even when you feel rushed to go on to another project, it is important to clear space in order to work productively on that new project.

But the main point of this is that even if you allow stuff to clutter up your space, it only takes a short amount of time to clear that space. Taking the 10 minutes or less to clear a workspace really saves you time and allows you to think more clearly.

Now, my office desk is ready for anything I want to accomplish. It even looks inviting! When I start my next project I will set my timer for 10 minutes before quitting time to allow time to return my desk to good working order.

Here’s a challenge

I challenge you to look around your office or home and find one annoying area that you could declutter in only 10 minutes. I would love to hear your results and see your pictures. Send them to me on our Facebook page: Ask the Organizers Diane and Jonda. Feel free to ask for suggestions if you get stuck clearing your desk.

It takes just a little time now to save time in the long run.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of three books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing, virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.