Previously I shared with you some Tips For Decluttering Your Messy Desk. But how long does your cleared desk stay that way? I’m guessing not too long.
So I want to pose a related and different question. How do you keep your work space that you have just cleared from once again getting cluttered?
As a home-based business owner it’s up to you to maintain order and flow where you work so you can stay focused and follow through on your business actions. That includes keeping your work area clear of piles and other stuff that has no business being out on a surface. That can be easier said than done when you’re busy with everyday activities along with your personal responsibilities when putting stuff back in it’s place might not be your highest priority.
To help us out I asked some friends over at MyBlogU to share their tips and tools for keeping a work space that is clear from getting cluttered again. Here’s what they had to say:
Seph Cadiz (Internet Marketing Entrepreneur )
Find a home for everything. Create an in-depth to do list with time frames and focus all attention on the one task at a time. After you complete a new goal, retire any tool used for that goal to their designated home and move onto the next item on the list.
Patricia Anthony (E-commerce Strategist)
The best way to keep a room clutter free is to make it a habit. Take time to clear up every day.
Label files, drawers and cabinets so that you easily decide where an item should be stored away.
Use desk organizers to keep items on your desk, neatly stored away.
Clear up and store away unwanted items in between tasks, or before switching to another activity
JamieBDC (Writer and researcher)
Be ruthless. Don’t let clutter build up. Every night before finishing work (if this in an office or studio) or going to bed (if it’s a home study), check your work area and spend a few minutes clearing away any clutter, removing waste, sharpening pencils etc and laying out the next day’s work. Don’t let the sun go down on clutter – it’s just ensuring wasted time and frustration for the following morning, and a bad start to the next session of work.
Eve Koivula (Lifestyle Business Discovery [LBD] Mentor)
My desk is actually our kitchen table, so I have to keep it clutter free, ‘cus we’re having dinner every single night.
I’m a pen & paper girl (kinesthetic learner) so that’s sometimes quite a challenge because I have pieces of paper lying everywhere. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
First of all, I always try to make sure to finish one project at a time. First thing is to give it a name, then create a folder offline and online. It’s usually just me, so I have a notebook in Evernote and a folder on my computer. If I work with a team, I place everything into a project management system.
I start by printing out the necessary checklists and create a mindmap for myself, using sticky notes and a folded A3 size paper. I store that inside a carton folder and add all the other notes I’m making about the particular project. When I start working, I pull those out and when I’m done for the day, I fold them away with my laptop.
Once the project is finished, I place the notes inside the folded A3, create a print screen of the folders, print them out and archive everything in a binder.
What’s important is to know the reason to do all this. My main motivator is that it not just improves my business, but also my relationship if I take care of it 🙂
David Leonhardt (President, THGM Writers)
Not that my desk is always uncluttered by any means, but one thing I do keeps it from getting more cluttered than it already is – I make use of my walls.
Behind me are two white boards. On one I list current in-progress projects that I am doing for clients. On the other are projects that in theory will be undertaken by myself or a member of my team (although I know that only one in five will actually proceed. These white boards are strictly a “don’t drop the ball” tool. All the actual info in on my computer, but this saves me from having scraps of paper and sticky notes reminding me to keep track of them.
To my left I have a few at-a-glance lists to remind me of things when I need them, so that I don’t have to search or forget things. For instance, I have a list of places to promote my blog posts when I publish. I have a list of family anniversaries and birthdays. I have a list of my book writers. And I have a list of number key combos to use for French and Spanish characters/accents. Above those is a drawing my daughter did for me (well, I don’t want that cluttering my desk, either).
This does not keep my desk uncluttered (sometimes sweeping the desktop into a drawer does), but it does keep it less cluttered.
Phil Turner (The 5 Currencies Guy)
This is not something I am good at.
I need more box-files to put things into. As I look around I see battery charger, supermarket brochures, bank statements, pens and receipts that I need to file away for tax. I have folders for most of those things!
Those are some great suggestions. Thanks for your input.
- Find a home for everything.
- After you complete an action item, return any tool used to its designated home.
- Take time to clear up every day. Make it a habit.
- Label files, drawers and cabinets so that you easily decide where an item should be stored away.
- Don’t let the sun go down on clutter. Every night before finishing work, check your work area and spend a few minutes clearing away any clutter and laying out the next day’s work.
- Give each project a name, then create a folder offline and online.
- Make use of your walls for white boards and printed lists.
Do you have a tip for keeping a clear work space from getting cluttered that’s not included here? We want to hear from you. Share it with us in the comments below.
Take action: Look around your work space right now. For those who need some decluttering, check out the previous blog post, Tips For Decluttering Your Messy Desk. For those whose work space is currently clear, set up some structures to keep it that way. Block out an hour in your schedule to follow through. If you don’t have enough time to block out an hour, block out two hours. (LOL – I stole that line from people who suggest that for meditation.)