Is a Messy Desk Good or Bad at Work?

messy desk

office team

“Although not everyone cares about how your desk looks, having a messy workspace could lead others to question your professionalism,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Keep your desk tidy and you’ll be able to find what you need more quickly and increase your work efficiency.”

OfficeTeam identifies seven desk organization mistakes:

  1. Creating a pileup. Recycle or shred unnecessary paperwork and file or scan everything else.    
  2. Failing to contain yourself. Use pencil cups, drawer and file organizers and trays to keep items in their place.
  3. Hoarding. If you haven’t touched something in a year, it probably shouldn’t be on your desk. Keep supplies you access most often within reach, and the rest out of sight.
  4. Not being tech-savvy. Going paperless can help you reduce clutter and find information more quickly, but only if you use a digital filing system or organizational app to keep track of everything.
  5. Over-accessorizing. It’s generally fine to show some personality with your workspace decorations, but leave your teddy bear collection and gigantic cat posters at home.    
  6. Being “crumb”y. Clear your desk of food wrappers, empty coffee cups and dirty plates. Wipe off your work surface after eating.
  7. Cleaning just once or twice a year. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day straightening up your workspace so you can get a quick start in the morning.



Drowning in Email- Help!


Question: Help! I’m drowning in incoming email.  I start opening email in the morning and soon hours have passed and I haven’t done anything but sift through email.  How can I both manage my email and get my work done?

Answer: This is a very common challenge.  Here are some tips for getting in control of your email and assuring you have time to work:

  • Don’t start your day by opening your inbox.  Get something, perhaps the most important something, done from your task list first.  This assures you’ve met one of the day’s goals before you delve into your inbox.
  • Reduce the frequency you check email.  Checking email every few minutes when you’re trying to stay focused on your work is a very distracting and costly behavior.  Experiment working in 25-90 minute sessions without checking email.  You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done and how the quality of your work improves without so much distraction.
  • Turn off notification sounds and icons.  These notifications, even just hearing or glancing at them, can cost hours a day in lost productivity.  Take control of your email and check you inbox on your terms.

Debbie Rosemont –

Never Too Young


A reader recently sent us these photos of her grand daughter looking through Getting Organized magazine!  You are never too young to get organized.  In the magazine, and here on the website, we often share ways to have your kids help you organize.  It is important to teach them the skills they will need- time management, cleaning, organizing – so when they are grown up and on their own they will know how to handle things without you.  Be sure to include children in the process, rather than just tossing things when they aren’t home.  When you include them, they learn.  When you exclude them they can fear loss and actually learn to keep items (perhaps even hoard).

(Our current issue- Winter 2015 has a great article: No More Toys- Helping Kids De-clutter Their Play Areas– subscribe today)



A Reader’s Laundry Room

laundry room

We love it when our readers share their spaces!  Here is one recently sent to us:  (we would love for you to send us your organized space:

“Baskets on shelves are for folded clothes, each person in the house has a basket.  Hanging clothes ready for the closet are hung on the side of the rack next to each persons basket.  Dirty clothes are on the bottom.  Labeled for sorting.  This simple laundry system and a new large capacity washer and dryer changed my life!!”


Desktop Scanner Giveaway-$400 Value! (closed)


Fujitsu offered to share a Scan Snap ix500 with us for a give-away ($450 value!!). This amazing scanner scans a blazing 25 pieces of paper per minute, offers two sided scanning, has USB or Wi-Fi connection to a computer and can scan to iOS or Android mobile devices.   See the video below to see it in action.

How to Enter:

At the bottom of this post is a Rafflecopter form.  Simply use your Facebook or email address to enter. (or click here if reading in your email:


    • The prize package is (1) ScanSnap ix500
    • No purchase necessary
    • Available for US residents only
    • Must be 18 years or older
    • Winners have 2 days to respond by email or another winner will be chosen
    • The Rafflecopter program will randomly select the winner
    • There is a timer on the Rafflecopter form that tells you how much time is left for the giveaway
    • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.  We hereby release Facebook of any liability

We are currently offer 20% off a subscription to Getting Organized magazine (ends Jan. 31, 2015)!  Use coupon code GETORGJAN15  : click here to subscribe 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


January is Get Organized Month!


Getting organized has become such a popular New Year’s resolution that January is officially known as Get Organized Month!  In honor of this we have done a few things we wanted to share with you:

  • On our Facebook and Twitter pages we have been sharing an organizing tip each day.
  • As always we have great videos here on our website that share organizing how-to’s.
  • We have recently started an Instagram page sharing completely different tips than our other social media.
  • And best of all we are offering a coupon code for 20% off during the month of January 2015!  (this coupon is for new subscribers, but don’t worry when it’s time to renew we offer a discount for you, too!)

The coupon is GETORGJAN15 and is good for new subscribers, US/International, Print/Digital- through January 31, 2015

Click here to subscribe.

We hope you will take advantage of this coupon, share with friends/family and check out all of our great tips that we will continue to share in the magazine and on our social media throughout the year!

  • Jan 2015 coupon code Pinterest



Falling Through the Cracks

post its

Question: Things are falling through the cracks at work.  I’m constantly forgetting to do things or neglecting to follow-up with clients.  I use sticky notes to remind myself of what I need to do and it often looks like my desk is covered in sticky notes.  Worse, I often either can’t find a note or forget that I made a note.  How can I get organized so things don’t fall through the cracks?

Answer:  Not only does having things fall through the cracks prevent you from meeting your commitments and goals; it also creates stress for you.  You need a more reliable process for collecting and storing your tasks and commitments.  You’ve made a good first step in writing things down.  The sticky notes fail because they aren’t safely consolidated into a task or to-do list and because it is difficult to manage your work when commitments and ideas are scattered about.  Here are some tips for preventing things from falling through the cracks:

  • Start using an electronic or paper task list.  Make this the one and only spot you write down all of your commitments.  Carry it with you.  If you do jot down something on a sticky note, make sure to transfer it to your official task list.
  • Create an end of day routine to review and prioritize your task list.  Things fall through the cracks when we lose sight of what’s on our task lists and what’s important.  Take a few minutes at the end of each day to make sure you have all of your tasks written in one place and to make decisions about how to prioritize your work for the next day.

Debbie Rosemont