Organizing the Desk: Back to Ready – Part 2

Last time I shared my cluttered desk with you, along with the reasons it ended up being so cluttered.  Today I want to share the steps for getting it back to ready.  These aren’t the only possible steps that might help someone get their desk back to ready, but they are the steps I used and hopefully they might give you some ideas for steps you may want to take…

  1. I cleared everything off my desk – I call it a desk dump – and it allows me to start with a clear space to process everything.
  2. My next step was to sit down with the pile on the floor and sort the items based on where they belonged or what the next step was for each.  Within 5 minutes, I had categorized everything into one of six piles:  1) Shred it, 2) Recycle it, 3) Put away elsewhere (things that have a home and just need put away), 4) figure out a home for (there were only four items in this category), 5) Papers to Process and 6) Projects
  3. Step three was to shred, recycle and put away all items that belonged elsewhere – again, this step only took about 10 minutes, because these items just had to make it back to a specific place.
  4. My next step was to process the items without homes, which took about 15 minutes.  It was no surprise to me they were all items which had ended up on my desk as visual reminders of things needing to be done.   These tasks were entered into Toodledo and the visual reminders placed elsewhere.  Indicative of items in this category was the new water bottle holder for my bike, which I need to install, but that I don’t have the right size allen wrench to install myself.  The task I recorded in Toodledo was to ride to the local bike shop and borrow the right sized wrench.  I then placed the water bottle holder in the carry bag on my bike.
  5. Papers to Process was my largest category, representing 17 different tasks.  Consistent with David Allen’s Getting things Done, I immediately processed anything taking two minutes or less.  This included tasks like scanning and emailing documents to a colleague and preparing an envelope to mail a statement.  Other tasks were recorded in Toodledo and the corresponding papers were placed in my Toodledo File. This step took the longest amount of time, but still less than 45 minutes.
  6. The final category was Projects and the items that fit into this category were the binder and project box relating to current a current financial project and a couple of files relating to changes I am making in my mentor coaching program.  Each of these, were documented in Toodledo and the binders and files were stored on a shelf. This step took all of 5 minutes.

In the end, getting my desk back to ready took less than an 90 minutes and resulted in me having enough clear space and a clear enough head to write this blog and accomplish a whole lot more.

What tips do you have for getting and keeping you desk in good order?



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