A few years ago, my home office used to be a very messy environment.

It was not the best desk setup for productivity and, well, anything in general.

I used to have stacks of unorganized papers pilled high (even covering my view out of my window), coffee cups laying about and nothing in the right place.

Looking back, I’m not really sure how I got any work done on time since it would take me ages to find anything.

Luckily, I read a few articles about productivity and put them into action.

These days, my looks much better and I am getting a lot more work done thanks to its newfound efficiency.

With that in mind, today I will be teaching you guys how to set up your desk properly so you can also become a productive machine.

Remove Everything Off Your Desk

To start, temporarily move everything off your desk.

This will give you some much-needed room for reorganization. 

You might even find a few lost items such as your favorite pen that you have not seen in weeks. 

Once the desk is clear, run a clean, damp cloth over it and make it sparkle.

Sort Out All Of Your Documents

Did you move a lot of unorganized papers off your desk in the first step?

It’s time to sort them all out.

To do this, simply go through them all one by one and throw away anything that you don’t need (or even better, use a paper shredder).

The remaining documents can be sorted into 3 different piles:

  1. Documents you need for tasks to be completed in a timely manner
  2. Documents you need all the time
  3. Documents where you are not sure if you still need them

For all of the documents that are in the third stack, be sure to remove them every month if you have not touched them. There is no point in keeping them if you have not used them in that timeframe.

Store Everything You Can

Let’s get to the more fun part.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen and think about the categories you could store or place on your desk to keep a clear overview.

A sensible investment would be document boxes or desk organizers because this makes it easier to accommodate items and papers.

Now label the boxes with different categories to avoid time-consuming searches while working. So you always have an overview of which materials and documents are located where.

Make Use Of A Letter Tray

With all the letters that fly in every day, you can quickly lose track of them. Especially when it’s invoices, they sometimes mysteriously disappear just when you need them.

To help, I recommend that you buy an office ‘letter tray’ to keep them organized into in and out categories.

Setup A To-Do List

Having a to-do list is something that I highly recommend. I would simply not be able to run my business properly without one.

For this you have two main options: 

  • A physical one
  • A digital one

I myself use a digital one called ‘Todoist’. 

It is an app that can be used on both computer and mobile devices. 

What I like to do is set up my todo lists on a night when I’m in bed using the phone app and then I can work through it on my PC in the morning.

Since I also have a Google Home Hub on my desk, I can ask Google ‘what is on my todoist?’ and she will read out all of the days tasks.

If you are not technically minded, or just prefer doing it the ‘old fashioned way’, then you can simply take a notebook and leave it on your desk to write your lists in.

Arrange Your Work Equipment Ergonomically To Prevent Tension

Anyone who works long hours in an office will tell you how important ergonomics is.

The last thing you want is to be in pain right? 

An ergonomic setup is not only healthier for your body, but it can increase productivity a lot. 

Here are a few tips to help ease the stress: 

  • Set up your monitor so that the nose is approximately at screen top height. As a result, you avoid neck tension. Optimal would be a screen mount with which you can adjust the monitor exactly
  • Ideally, place your to-do list between the monitor and keyboard. So you always keep an eye on them and don’t have to constantly twist your head to look for your tasks
  • Place the keyboard close to the body to avoid a round trip. You place the mouse right next to the keyboard
  • Ideally, you’ll use a wireless keyboard and mouse to avoid cable salads. In addition, you create more storage space.

Always Put Only Documents For One Task On Your Table

Many people talk about multi-tasking, yet nobody seems to be able to do it.

As research has found, you can only focus your attention on one task at a time. 

So, with that in mind, you should only keep the documents that you need for that task on your desk as other, non-related documents can distract you from the task at hand.

Place A Trash Can Right Next To Your Desk

I think something that we can all agree on is that offices produce a lot of trash.

Whether it be drafts of documents or even leftovers from that sandwich you decided to eat at your desk, you are going to need somewhere to put it. 

By placing a trashcan at the side of your desk, you can dispose of the un-needed items quickly before you end up with a desk so full of trash that you have run out of space to work.

Clean Your Desk Every Night

Nobody likes to enter a dirty office in the morning, so clean it up on a night when you have finished working. 

By making it the last thing you do, you will be able to get straight to work the next day.

Conclusion: A good desk organization saves a lot of time and makes you more productive

A tidy desk means a tidy mind. 

If you look after your workspace, it will reward you with increased productivity.

If you have any comments on my office setup for productivity, then please get in touch. I would love to hear your thoughts.