Write a list of items in your work area. Do not make a list of what you would prefer to have in your work area, just write what you see in your work area when you glance at it. Groups of items that are abundant in your work area, such as pens and books, should be listed as single items. For example, if you see a handful of pens on the desk, just write "pens" instead of "five pens."
If you want to be effective at work, you need to have an organized desk and work area. If your desk is organized, you will be able to identify everything you need as you need it; if your desk is unorganized, you will have a harder time finding what you need. Arranging your desk does not require you to have a superb organizational plan in place. It does, however, require you to decide which items can be logically grouped together, since an effective work area is a logically arranged work area.
Use a colored highlighter to highlight the items on your list that can be logically justified as a part of your work area. Things like computer hardware, pens and paper should go in this category. Empty soda cans, shredded paper and personal items (e.g. your mp3 player) should not.
Remove all items that you could not logically relate to work. If you want to have these items around for personal enjoyment at lunchtime, keep them in the office break area or in your briefcase.
Move your desk so that it leaves a lot of space in your work area. Have your desk facing the door/entrance, but not too close to it. Keep your desk near to and facing against the wall across from the entrance.
Put your computer hardware (tower, screen, keyboard, mouse, printer) and new documents on top of your desk, while leaving older documents and less used accessories inside the drawers.
Install a shelf for books and ornaments. Put any family pictures and mementos on this shelf; they can be distracting when placed prominently on your desk. Purchase a desk does not take up too much space in your office or cubicle; visit an office supply store to check prices.
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