25 Tips to Organize Your Desk and Increase Your Productivity

We’ve all heard the saying “tidy desk, tidy mind”, but unlike some old wives’ tales, this proverb is based in reality.

Studies have shown that physical work environments can affect our performance and well being. On top of this, research suggests that procrastination can lead to increased office clutter, which only contributes to further productivity issues.

If you want to break this cycle once and for all, organizing your personal space is a great place to start. Whether you do most of your work at home or from the office.

25 tips below can help you de clutter your workstation and boost productivity for desk organizer:

1. Ensure Your Screen Is Front and Center!

An ergonomic workspace is the key to comfort, productivity, and overall well being. Ensure your screens are positioned in the middle of your desk and at the appropriate height. The top of your screens should be at eye level when you’re sitting up straight at your desk.

Use monitor risers or laptop risers as necessary and add a separate mouse and keyboard if you’re working on a laptop.

2. Organize Your Cables

You can purchase a range of clips, tapes, trays, and boxes to bundle all your cables together neatly, and zip ties will also do the job. This ensures your cables are out of sight and out of mind.

3. De clutter Your Desk

Review every item on your desk and ask yourself if it can go in a drawer or even in the bin. Think about how often you use each item and be strict about the process.

Don’t be afraid to put things away. Remember, you can always refine your setup over time.

4. One In One Out

Once your desk is clean and tidy, try the one in one out method to keep it that way. Need to add a new document to your desk? File an older one away so you don’t fall into the habit of creating more clutter.

5. Keep Prominent Items on Your Dominant Side

Are you always reaching for a pen and a notebook? Maybe it’s a bottle of water. It’s ok to keep your most used items on your desk! Keeping them on your dominant side will save you from having to reach over every time you need to use them.

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6. Theme Your Items

By putting similar items in the same place, it’s easier to remember where everything is.

Put your office supplies in the same drawer, your client documents on the same shelf, and your workplace snacks in an easy to access compartment!

7. Color Coding Is Your Best Friend

Color coding your files is another easy way to maintain a sense of order. You can choose a different color for each client, each task, each stage in a process, or whatever suits your workflow.

sticky notes
Sticky Notes

If you have a seriously urgent task that you need to remember, then you can stick one note to your desk. Just remember to take it down once that task is complete.

8. Create Some Dedicated Open Space

Have a space on your desk that’s almost always empty. That way, you can add temporary documents to your desk without having to rearrange the entire space. Make sure you empty this space once this extra task is done!

9. Focus on One Task at a Time

Multitasking is a bit of a myth. Multiple studies have confirmed that what we’re actually doing is quickly switching between tasks, and every time we do, we’re losing a bit of productivity.

Multitasking is bad for our desks too. It causes clutter that makes every task an uphill battle. When you’re working, focus on one task at a time and have only one task worth of documentation on your desk. Once the project is done, clear that clutter away and move on to the next task.

10. Sort By Importance and Urgency

If you need to have multiple projects on your desk, ensure they are organized by order of importance and urgency. The task you’re currently working on can sit in your dedicated open space, while other tasks can sit on your non-dominant side in priority order.

To avoid piles of paper, use a tiered desk organizer to arrange your files. You can file documents away from left to right or top to bottom. This allows you to maintain your priority system while keeping papers off your desk.

11. Consolidate with a Notebook

Adding an extra item to your desk might seem contradictory, but a simple A5 notebook can serve many purposes. You can write down notes and ideas, copy down a phone number, and much more.

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A notebook can replace stray pieces of paper and endless sticky notes, and it can stop you from reaching for your phone to take notes.

12. Throw It Away or File It Away!

Don’t be afraid to throw away or shred documents if you know you’re not going to need them again. Otherwise, consider filing them away for long term storage in a separate filing cabinet.

Whatever you do, get that excess paper off your desk and out of your desktop organizer.

13. A Personal Touch Should Be a Light Touch

Adding a few personal objects to your desk can be a good touch. Maybe it’s a funny comic strip, a family photo, or a little figurine. However, you should keep these objects to a minimum. If you can, pin them to a wall, place them on a shelf behind your desk, or pop them on your monitor stand so they aren’t on the desk itself.

14. Digitize Where You Can

We live in a highly digitized environment, but paper is still the number one cause of a disorganized desk. So many of your desktop items can be digitized, including to-do lists and calendars. You can even scan documents onto your computer to get them off the desk itself.

15. Do a Digital De clutter

Digitizing your workspace is great, but don’t fall for digital clutter. Turn off non-essential notifications on your phone and computer, clear all those unnecessary icons off your desktop screen, and put aside time to audit your email inbox.

Consider setting aside time every day to answer emails and only look at your inbox during that allotted time.

16. Get a Dedicated Desk Organizer

A simple two-tray desk organizer could be the answer to your storage worries. Use one tray for active projects and one tray for completed jobs, clearing out the organizer at the end of the week.

desk organizer
Desk Organizer

You can also get desk organizers with multiple tiers and compartments, perfect for storing magazines, manila folders, paper documents, office supplies, and more.

17. Go Vertical with Floating Shelves

If your desk organizer can’t fit on the desk itself, floating shelves might be the way to go. Floating shelves are an unobtrusive option for extra storage, and they’re also a great place to store items you rarely use.

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18. Under Desk Storage Is Great for Non-Essential Items

If overhead storage isn’t possible, consider an under desk storage option. There’s usually plenty of unused room under the desk, and items stored here are also out of sight and out of mind.

19. Utilize Drawers (and Dividers!)

Desktop drawers are another great way to store regularly used items that you don’t want on your desk. Buy a drawer with adjustable dividers so the inside of your drawer can stay as organized as the top of your desk.

20. Put Aside Your Travel Items

Whenever you travel to the office, certain items always come with you. This includes your wallet or purse, your keys, and of course, your mobile phone.

Keep these items off your desk! They could stay in your pocket, in your bag, or even on the ground.

21. Put the Printer Elsewhere

Bulky office electronics like printers, scanners, and modems don’t need to be on your desk. Keep these items on a nearby table to free up space while still maintaining convenience.


22. Switch Out That Desk Lamp

If a lamp is taking up space on your desk, think about alternatives. Floor lamps, overhead lighting, and good access to natural light are all great options that could free up space on your desk.

23. Wipe Down Your Desk

Take a moment to wipe down your desk, keyboard, mouse, and other surfaces once a day. Having a desk that is both uncluttered and clean will put you in the perfect headspace for productivity.

24. Start Fresh Every Day

Clean and reset your desk at the end of every workday. By clearing away loose papers, empty coffee cups, and food wrappers, you can maintain your de cluttered desk with ease.

25. Schedule Regular Desk Maintenance

Even with daily clean-ups, your desk is likely to become more cluttered over time. When work gets busy, systems start to fall by the wayside and old habits creep back in.

To address this, simply set a reminder in your calendar when you first declutter your desk organizer. Regular desk maintenance is an opportunity to not only reset to zero but to make thoughtful changes to your setup that make your everyday schedule even easier!

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