I am not a neat nick. I am not particularly tidy or organized. But, I have disciplined myself to be orderly and systematic because I don’t like the consequences of being a slob. I don’t like people to think that I am disorganized and out of control. I want customers, employees, vendors and subcontractors to feel that, by working with me, they have found a sane harbor in a sea of chaos.
I also got tired of searching for everything I thought was “right here.”
Take a good look at your desk. Be honest. If it’s a mess – yes, even just “a little messy” – clean it!
How To Clean Your Desk
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a neat and functional working space.
1. Collect the tools you will need.
- A garbage can, a stapler, post-it notes, paper clips and a marking pen and furniture polish or all-purpose cleaner, and a large cup of coffee.
2. Lock your door and put your phone on silent.
3. Take everything off your desk. Empty all drawers and shelves. Set everything on the floor.
4. Clean your desk – inside and out. Polish it – make it shine!
5. Go through every pile and get rid of the trash – THROW IT OUT!
- Be ruthless…out-of-date information? Toss! A magazine that is more than two months old? Pitch! Remember, it is unlikely that you would ever look through your huge piles of stuff to find something. If any of this information is available through the Internet or with a telephone call that is where you should get it.
6. Put everything you’d like to keep into “like kind” piles on the floor.
7. Use your tools to make small notes, staple corresponding items together, label and sort.
8. Put back on your desk only the things you will need to access this week.
9. Put back in your drawers only one of each type of office supply item you use.
10. Put back in your hanging files only the current projects that require your immediate attention.
11. Take the piles of like-kind information and file them.
12. Even if they are in perfect condition, throw out the bright green folders that you know you will never use.
- If that strikes you as being wasteful, then donate the folders to the Salvation Army, or the Victory Mission. But, do it today, or throw them away!
13. Put an Inbox on your desk.
- Moving forward, as each new item hits your inbox, you must take a second and put it in its place.
Apply these principles…and clean the whole place!
A clean desk is no small thing. It is symbolic of your commitment to excellence, fundamental business basics and focused thinking. It is a testimony to your personal discipline. If you can’t keep your own desk clear and your work focused and productive, then who are you to lead others? A clean desk speaks volumes. So, clean your desk, and move on to another area of your business. The trucks or the warehouse?
“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” – Oscar Wilde