What Are Your Favorite Tips and Tricks for National Clean Off Your Desk Day?
Today, the second Monday in January, is National Clean Off Your Desk Day and is meant to raise awareness as to the dangers of a messy desk. Well, not real dangers. But a messy desk can harm your genealogy research and productivity! Think about it: how much time to you spend looking for that stick note with info on it, or the book your bought six months ago. You could be spending that time researching ancestors if you got organized!
Here are my favorite tips and tricks for surviving National Clean Off Your Desk Day:
- Schedule Your Clean Up. If you think you can clean up a messy desk whenever you have five minutes available, you’re destined to fail. Set aside an hour or two on a quiet day. And don’t reschedule!
- TRIAGE! I’ve had to clean out entire houses for family members and here is what worked for every project: triage and sort items! Don’t think you’ll be able to just pick up one item at a time and get a clean desk. Once sorted into piles or boxes, then tackle each item.
- Eliminate visual distractions. What’s in your sight line as you sit at your desk? Is there a wall filled with sticky notes? Aim for a clean space on your office walls as well. Just some simple artwork, perhaps a family tree chart, etc. And think about mixing things up every few months with new items.
- Prioritize what’s within reach. Take some time and think about what you use in a given day at your desk. Do you need to “dig” through drawers to find something? You should have a trash can within reach and the upper drawers of your desk should have the items you use every day.
- Organize Your Cables. I hate dusting my desk, especially underneath it. And cables for computers, scanners etc. get all tangled and dusty. Use computer cable ties to group cables and also add labels with a cable name.
- Use colors! When organizing items including groups of papers, consider different colored file folders and tape flags. Develop a color coded system for your desk such as Green for Vital Records Orders, Blue for Items to Be Scanned, etc.
- Ditch the manuals! I know it sounds like heresy to advocate getting rid of reference materials, but hear me out: if you have a manual for your printer or scanner, chances are there is a digital PDF version available at the manufacturer’s website. Also, are you still sitting on a Windows 7 for Dummies book while you’re running Windows 10 on your computer? Tech books get stale quickly . . . again this is why digital is always better!
- Go digital. Take a good look at what you’ve organized during your cleanup. Especially the papers . . . is it possible to get a digital copy of these items? Can you scan the papers you have and use the scanned copy? I’ve even gone so far as to sign up for online bill pay! I try to be as “paperless” as possible and it starts with always getting a digital copy online.
- Donate unused office products. There are many non-profit groups including genealogy societies who could benefit from extra pens, envelopes, etc. At the very least, recycle any paper office products you need to toss.
- The Clean Up is Hard; Maintenance Matters! Yes it can be a difficult project to finally clean off your desk, but once done you’ll be amazed at your productivity. However, constant maintenance of a clean desk is needed! Put things away RIGHT AWAY and don’t create dump piles!
National Clean Off Your Desk Day Deals at Amazon
Is the camera crew from the television show Hoarders hanging outside your office window? Has your genealogy cave been overflowing with paper, books, and other “stuff?” National Clean Off Your Desk Day is a great way to get organized! Check out the deals below at Amazon!
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