As work-from-home spaces continue to grow in popularity, the need for decent organization is more important than ever. Being able to sort through work files to find exactly what you need contributes to convenience and productivity. The organization of your work desk can set the tone for your work and maintain your overall efficiency. Continue reading to find out how to organize your computer desk to suit your personal needs.
Why Should You Stay Organized?
Keeping your desk organized might seem extraneous, but learning how to organize your and maintain a clean desk at work can come with plenty of benefits.
Some surveys suggest that the average worker loses up to an hour per day to disorganization. Think about how much time is wasted each day trying to uncover a document or notes simply because you have a messy desk. All of that wasted time could be spent on meeting with clients, helping customers, and otherwise doing the work that you need to do. Organizing and decluttering your workspace can take a little extra time upfront, but you will ultimately save time staying organized in the long run.
Personal Comfort and Ergonomics
Ergonomics refers to the science of efficiency in your working environment. In an office, that usually refers to your sitting and general posture, but your desk organization can also factor into that. If your commonly used items tend to be things you have to physically reach for, you may be putting unnecessary strain on your body. Over time, all that reaching can contribute to physical pain and discomfort.
A cluttered space is a cluttered mind. If you are already stressed with work or life, sitting at a cluttered desk may just increase that stress. Those who see clients in person or otherwise have frequent visitors may experience embarrassment about a messy desk space or have to take an entire day to make their spaces presentable. Desk clutter can just become a burden that continues to grow as you add more paper and junk, making it even harder to tackle later on. Avoid the stress and turn your clutter into an organized desk or workspace today!
How to Keep Your Office Desk Organized
Clean and Declutter
Start with a basic clean and declutter. This may require you to completely clear off the surface of your desk and purge any drawers and cabinets. This is an opportunity to get rid of things that you don’t need, whether it’s dried out ballpoint pens or old project outlines from a decade ago. Throw out what you don’t need and file what you do. This can be hard for some people, especially if you are used to keeping everything, but hoarding every post-it note and document generally isn’t helpful. As much as you think you need that note, you probably don’t. Organize, date any papers, and use paper clips to group any documents that may be useful in the short-term, but throw away anything else.
From there, give your desk a good dusting. Wipe down any surface and disinfect your keyboard, mouse, and phone. This can help you with your organization and support your overall health. Try to make the habit of wiping down your desk and computer screen at least once a week.
Set Up Your Monitor
With your desk newly clean and decluttered, it’s time to set up your computer monitor to support good ergonomics. You probably spend several hours per day in front of your computer, staring at the screen. An awkward monitor setup can fill those hours with strange angles, eye strain, or neck cramps. By investing in a monitor mount or monitor wall mount that meets the below specifications you can easily improve your ergonomics and reduce strain.
- Start with the height. The top of the computer monitor should be at or slightly below eye level.
- In terms of distance, your monitor should be about an arm’s length away. This distance can be based on the size of your monitor. A larger monitor may need to be pushed back further, while a smaller monitor may need to be placed closer. You should be able to view the entire screen without needing to move your neck or adjust.
- If your monitor tilts or if you have a monitor stand that allows for tilting, consider angling your monitor back slightly by 10 to 20 degrees.
- Place your monitor directly in front of you . This means no turning your head or trying to look at the monitor out of the corner of your eye.
Remember that these are general guidelines. Every worker’s needs will vary. This can be an instance of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to adjust as you go until you find the right setup that is comfortable and sustainable for you. Still wondering “how should a monitor be positioned?” Read on to find out the best ways to set up your monitor to provide the most comfort during a long day at work.
If you are wondering how to organize a desk with two monitors, the same general rules apply. You mainly want to determine the usage that you get from each monitor. You might want to ask yourself "will a second monitor provide value or can I do the same amount of work on a single monitor?" If you use both monitors fairly equally, place both of them in front of you. The point where they meet should be directly in front of you with the monitors slightly angled in a V shape. If you have one monitor that you look at more than the other, place that one directly in front of you as your primary monitor. Place the second monitor slightly angled on either side of the primary monitor.
Along with your monitor, make sure your keyboard and mouse are properly positioned. Your keyboard should be in front of you. Leave a gap of four to six inches between the edge of your desk and the keyboard for you to rest your wrists when you aren’t typing.
Keep your mouse as close to you as comfortably possible so that you don’t have to reach for it. Adjust sensitivity settings so that you don’t have to make large motions to move your mouse cursor. Invest in a mouse pad with some wrist support to keep your wrist straight.
Keep all other frequently used items, like your phone, planner, and notebook, within easy reach. Any supplies that you use only a couple times per week should be kept in drawers or otherwise out of the way.
Although sticky notes are an incredible invention, they have a tendency to pile up, adding further clutter to a desk space. Use your post-it notes in moderation. If you’re framing your monitor in sticky notes, they have already lost their purpose. Reserve sticky notes for significant, short-term reminders. Otherwise, stick with your daily planner for everyday to-dos.
Keep Knick-Knacks in Check
You should feel free to personalize your workstation and make it a positive, enjoyable space for you, from family photos to other trinkets. At the same time, don’t let your personal knick-knacks get out of control. Too many items can turn into a distraction and leave you right back where you started. Try to limit yourself to just three personal items on your desk.
You should ideally have plenty of blank space on your desk, but at the very least, maintain a paper-sized free space on your dominant side. Reserve this area as a workspace for reading and signing documents.
Keep in mind that it’s natural to have a little clutter on your desk, and that’s fine. However, that clutter becomes a problem as soon as it interferes with your work. Good organization contributes to a solid workflow. Do your best to keep your desk organized and neat, and re-evaluate each item on your desk at least once a week to maintain an organized work area.