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A clean desk is a productive desk

Tuesday, 15 October 2013 | By Linnet Hunter

When I worked for someone else, having a clear desk was easier to achieve.

But now that I am a solo freelancer – things pile up. Not only does this hamper my creativity, it also delays being able to find stuff and slows down productivity.


Whatever your reason for wanting to clear some clutter out of your physical space, and therefore out of your mental space as well (according to feng shui teaching), here are four tips to aid in clutter prevention around your workspace.


1. Go paperless


The promise of a paperless office has not yet materialised but paperless accounting is a good start. There are so many excellent cloud-based accounting packages (for example Xero) that mean no printing and no snail mailing. There is a green benefit to this as well as the decrease in clutter.


One estimate says that electronic billing would save 77.5 kilograms of paper, 238 litres of water and 17 litres of petrol per household per year. That might not sound much but it’s a lot if you multiply it by a couple of million households or offices.


2. Be canny with cables


Since we have so many electronic devices and they all come with lengths of unsightly cables and wires (even the wireless modem has to be plugged in somewhere), they can make the room messy just by sitting there.


A well-known Swedish furniture company has little pieces of channel that sit neatly behind your desk and make managing, storing, dusting and dealing with them easy. If there’s nowhere to hide them, make a feature of them and turn them into an artwork. Hey, it worked for the Pompidou Centre.


3.E-waste it


They may be in the back of a drawer, a box or just taking up cupboard space, but wherever they are, old electronic stuff is taking up valuable space. E-waste is growing three times faster than any other kind of rubbish and there’s an estimate that in 2008 there was 106 million kilograms of the stuff with most of it going to landfill.


It’s a lot easier to recycle now than it used to be so take a couple of hours to take it away safely and feel the burden slide from your shoulders and your halo start glowing greenly. Techcollect have drop off spots for every kind of e-waste at sites all over Australia and Drop Zone provides a free recycling service for televisions and computers.


Australia Post has a Planet Ark campaign to collect printer cartridges and many banks have mobile phone collection points at their branches.


4. Tidy up time


Set the timer to 10 minutes at the end of each day and use it to tidy things up; things like emptying the bin or filing.


This will make it pleasant to come into the next day and save the clean-up task becoming overwhelming. Okay, now to see if I can follow my own advice and keep my desk spick and span.


Spit Spot!