Be honest with me for a minute. What does your desk look like right now? As a writer, the best thing you can do is keep your desk organized. It seems like something minor, but it really is the best writing tip I can offer for productivity.
The state of your desk affects everything about your work. It will stop you from being able to work effectively.
It’s amazing what mess can do to our mental states. It distracts us, calling out to us that we need to clean it up. It gets in the way, making it harder for us to concentrate on everything that needs to happen.
A messy desk also makes it harder to find anything. You’ll lose track of the work you need to do or may not find any paper research you’ve completed. You won’t be able to find receipts for your taxes or notebooks that you need for plot ideas. You’ll be left focusing on finding them instead of getting on with the work you need to do.
I say this from experience. Whenever my desk is messy, my writing productivity goes down. The first thing I need to do is get on with cleaning up the mess and organizing everything back in its rightful place. So, because of that, keeping an organized desk is my biggest writing tip.
SimpleHouseware Mesh Desk Organizer with Sliding Drawer, Double Tray and 5 Stacking Sorter Sections, Black
Top 5 tips for keeping your desk organized
Now you know why you need to keep your desk organized, you’ll want to know how to manage it. How about a writing tip or five from me?
1. Do it at the end of the day. Don’t wait until the following morning. This is going to cut into your writing time. Spend five minutes organizing your desk when you’ve finished your work so it’s ready for you right away.
2. Organize the paperwork weekly. There will be some things you can’t do at the end of the day. It works better on a weekly basis. Paperwork is usually the case. I spend an hour once a week organizing my receipts and noting all the business outgoings from that week. This keeps my spending on track, while getting me ready with plenty of time for tax time.
3. Avoid too much clutter. A place I used to work in had a clear desk policy. This was to make cleaning easier for the staff, but it was also great for removing distractions and keeping things organized. Avoid too much clutter on your desk. With less clutter, you’ll be able to find everything you need. You’re also less likely to add to that clutter. I use a caddy for my pens and a couple of notebooks that I use daily and that’s it.
4. Don’t just drawer dump. This is a common problem if you work with a clear desk policy. Avoid dumping everything in one drawer and promising you’ll organize it later. I have a small cabinet that is organized by shelf to manage all my notebooks, paperwork, and more.
5. Do purges. Every month or so, go through all the items around and in your desk. It’s time for a purge. Get rid of the old paperwork you no longer need (scanning documents so you keep digital copies instead of physical ones). Remove the pens that no longer work and discard full notebooks that are no longer useful. You’ll feel a world lighter without all the junk collecting.
You’ll be surprised at how great your work life is with a clear and organized desk. You’ll be much more productive in your writing. Test this writing tip and let me know how you find it!