This post is taken from my “Simple Sound Solutions” corporate training program:

Do you want a clearer desk in the next 30 minutes? Here is exactly how to do it.

Action – First, clear a space where you can create 4 piles. Next, turn off your phone or ask people to leave you alone for the next 30 minutes.

Then, start at one end of your desk working towards the other. Everything you touch has to go into one of these 4 piles:

Do          Defer          Delegate          Ditch

The ‘do’ pile is for those things you must take action on in the next 7-10 days. Do not take the action now, just pile it up.

‘Defer’ is for those things that can wait for more than 10 days. Using a sticky note, date the item for when you need to look at it again.

‘Delegate’ is the pile for those things that someone else can do. You may not think there is much you can pass to others, but there are generally a few things that end up in this stack.

And of course ‘Ditch’ is for all those papers that go to recycling, shredding or the garbage.

Be ruthless. If you only allow these 4 piles, you WILL get everything organized into them.

Then, at the end of 30 minutes, get rid of the Ditch stack, date order the Defer pile, pass on the Delegate batch and sit down to start working in your Do stack.

Get organized like this and I guarantee your day and your week will feel and be more productive and focused without all the stress a messy desk brings.