Many clients I work with talk about how they dread to come into work the next day knowing they have a pile waiting for them on their desk. I typically suggest a 10 – 15 minute daily ‘fix’ that consists of the following:
1. I ask that my clients book themselves a 10 – 15 minute block at the end of the day. What that really means is that my clients are booking a meeting/appointment with themselves. Just like most of us keep a doctor or dentist appointment, I stress the urgency to keep that appointment. That means no phone calls, texts, tweets, etc. No interruptions (and yes – I am very strict with this).
2. Once there is a set time set up, I ask my clients to address the paper on their desk. If there are no areas set up, we typically create 3:
- One area is for “Action Items“. These are jobs/tasks that need to get done and/or are time sensitive. Typically I suggest a tiered organizer so that the most time sensitive items are in front.
- Another area is for “Filing“. This would include any paperwork that needs to be kept and/or filed. This can be a tray, a bin, a box or anything else that will hold the paper temporarily. Setting a time to file is for another time.
- The third area is for recycling and/or shredding. Many of my clients use a recyclable grocery bag or a plain box to toss recycling. Most companies have policies on shredding and thus have an area set aside for this.
3. Once the paper has been placed in the correct spot, the next job is to place all ‘tools’ back into their correct spots. Pens, pencils, scissors, any stationary, etc. Many of these items can really clutter up a desk! Make sure you put them away.
4. Check work email. Flag emails (or mark them as un-read) if you need to address them tomorrow.
5. Start a “To Do” list for tomorrow. Rank them in order of priority.
6. Check your calendar as to the events happening the next day.
- Is there a meeting you need to remind yourself of?
- Are you meeting a client at a particular time?
- Is there a deadline that you need to be conscious of?
By looking at the next day, you are mentally preparing yourself for the next day.
It may sound like a lot of things to do, but once you get in the habit of taking the 10 -15 minutes each day, you will be thanking yourself the next morning! If a cluttered desk is really causing you to feel stressed out or anxious, I urge you to take the small amount of time to get it together!