Monday, January 9, 2012

Busy Mom's One-Step Desk-Clearing

Just Clear It!
Do this: get a document box, a small moving box, a large basket or other receptacle(s) and simply take everything off your desk, standing it up bookshelf style inside the box(es), and leaving the offending box in an unobtrusive area relatively close to your desk, such as a closet. Then return to your desk with only a pad and a pencil, ready to get down to business. By starting with a clutter-free desk, you get yourself into a productive state of mind so that you can accomplish things without being constantly interrupted with the dreaded visual reminders of things undone. This especially holds true for moms with home-based business who do not have dedicated office space: a jumble of bills, menus, client invoices, children's art, unidentified sticky objects, and calendars do not contribute to clarity!

Before I had dedicated office space under our stairs, I did this instant clean desk technique when I moved my (painfully cluttered) desk from our bedroom to our living room. Rather than worry about finding or creating a home for everything, I started fresh with a clear desk, and added what was needed as I went. The laptop and basic office supplies were the first to land on or in the gloriously empty desk: pens, stapler, etc. The exercise of going to grab an item needed to complete a task at your desk cements what is REALLY needed to get stuff done.

If you are worried about missing a bill payment buried in your box, consider that chances are you may have missed it anyway, right? By the way, if you KNOW you have a bill in there somewhere, try checking out whether or not you can pay that bill online. It may only take you as long to find out and set it up for auto-payments as it would to dig through the box to retrieve it, and then you will be set up for your next payment, too!

If your desk is so cluttered you can't see it, and you don't have homes for the papers living on it, you will need time to create homes and systems anyway. Your path of least resistance to productivity is going to be best, especially if you are like most busy moms and can't stop life to have an organizing marathon!


  1. Okay, Shelley - I hope I have boxes big enough, but will have this part done before I see you Monday!
    I can already feel the "open space". What a great idea!

    1. Whoo hoo! And what a dent we made, too.