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Are you and/or your staff as productive as you could be?
Are you constantly searching for items that you know are on your desk - somewhere?
Do you have to work late or miss deadlines because of disorganization?
How can you expect your boss or employees to take you seriously when you are constantly fumbling around a chaotic desk?
How efficiently can you work when your computer screen is covered in post-it notes and your keyboard is balancing upon a pile of papers?
To your colleagues you appear totally inept but the truth is, you are just disorganized.

A disorganized desk leads to non-productive work time. You could be costing yourself promotion opportunities and jeopardizing your relationship with your co-workers/employees and if you are self-employed then you are costing your business money.

A work space that is neat and clear of clutter, projects a professional, trustworthy image. With a space that you can work in and find things the instant they are needed, you will complete projects quickly and efficiently.

And the good news is, you CAN do something about ending this chaos and restoring order and you can do it right now! Come on, it's time to transform that disaster zone of an office into a powerhouse of productivity!

The following suggestions will help you organize your home office and work environment:

Remove all clutter from your desk. Having a clear and clean area to work in will dramatically improve your productivity.

Keep pens, pencils, scissors, erasers and other small items you use regularly, nearby but tidy, by using a tray or desk caddy.

After saving data, take a few seconds and label your computer disc or USB stick. This will save you hours of time and a monster headache when next you need to locate that information.

Create computer templates for all the documents you use regularly. This is far more efficient than starting from scratch each time.

Avoid using post-it notes. While they may seem convenient, they have a habit of falling off or sticking to unrelated papers and then becoming lost forever.

Set up a computer file or use a notebook where you list everything you would previously have used post-it notes for. Keep all this information in one central, easy to locate spot.

When working to a deadline, close your office door or put up a 'do not disturb' sign to let your co-workers know that now is not the time to stop and chat.

Set up a workable filing system and maintain it daily or weekly, depending upon your needs. If you file paperwork as it is completed you avoid important papers getting lost and filing does not become an overwhelming job.

Use easily identifiable names for categories in your filing system so you know at once where papers need to go and where to find them later on.

If your current filing system is over flowing, have a good clean out. Get rid of anything that is out of date and no longer needed.

Did you know that we only use 20% of the paper we keep? Are you keeping documents, either on your computer or a hard-copy, that you will never need to refer to again?

Clean up your work area at the end of each day, putting everything back in its rightful place. The next morning you will arrive to a clean and clutter-free work space and can get right down to business.

Be sure to stop for lunch and eat away from your desk. Many people eat and work at the same time, believing this to be the most efficient way but is it really? You will receive far greater benefit from leaving your work area and allowing your brain to turn off - even if it's only for 10 minutes - then returning to work feeling refreshed and ready to go again.

Just for fun, why not take this Desk Clutter Test!
Read the following 20 statements and answer True or False:

~ I make notes on scraps of paper, which frequently get lost.
~ Most days, I spend at least ten minutes looking for things on my desk.
~ Most days, there is a stack of magazines or other reading material on my desk.
~ Often, people will leave something on my chair or on top of a project I am working on, so I'll be sure to see it.
~ It is difficult for other people to find a document on my desk.
~ There is not enough room in my filing cabinet to hold the paperwork on my desk.
~ At any one time there are at least three unfinished projects lying on my desk.
~ In addition to paperwork, I keep at least five other items on my desk [such as a stapler, ruler, pencil caddie, paperclip holder, rubber bands].
~ You can usually see very little of my desk top, as 75% or more, is covered with files, paperwork etc.
~ I have more than one "junk" drawer in my desk.
~ Other people are reluctant to leave paperwork on my desk as they fear it might get lost.
~ The edges of my computer screen are covered in post-it notes.
~ A spare chair, a shelf under my desk, the top of a filing cabinet etc is being used to store paperwork, at least temporarily.
~ During a typical week, several people comment on the state of my desk (and not in a good way!).
~ Every week, at least two people ask me about the status of a memo or report that has been given to me for action.
~ My computer keyboard is balancing on top of a pile of papers or magazines.
~ Some days, while I am working, I have paper arranged on the floor adjacent to my desk.
~ I sometimes move to another desk or table so I'll have room to work.
~ I could be more productive if my desk was more organized.
~ My desk is usually messy when I leave at the end of the day.

Add up the number of TRUE responses.
Your score:
0 - 3  Well done! You are above average in your organizing skills, and are probably experiencing a high level of productivity.

4 - 9  Hmm. You may not win the "messiest desk" award, but your productivity is being affected. Time to de-clutter that desk!

10 - 14  Chances are, you are wasting a lot of time searching for things that have become lost amongst the clutter. Your productivity is suffering as a result so now would be a perfect time to clean up your act.

15 - 20   Oh dear! Your desk is probably a conversation piece. It is having a detrimental effect on your productivity and is possibly affecting other people's productivity as well. You need to tidy this up now, before your desk is declared a disaster zone!