Completely Empty Your Desk (and yes, I mean completely)

Someone from the class I recently taught, If You Do Nothing Else This Semester, emailed and asked if I had been in her office because of the graphic you see with this post.  I wasn’t in *her* office, but I have been in a lot of offices.

Here is a tip to remedy that mess.

Empty your desk.  The only way to make your desk a work area is to start fresh. Empty it out completely (drawers, shelves, nooks and crannies – all of it) and take everything off of the top.

Then, wipe it all down so it is “clean as a whistle,” as they say.

Then (and only then) start to mindfully and deliberately decide what needs to go back in or on your desk. Don’t just shuffle things around in the drawers or on top of your desk when you’re trying to get organized. Start with a clean, clear canvas and then – and only then – put things back.  I really want you to “get” this.

Your whole work life will change when you have a clean desk that is set up for you to work. It blew me away when I finally learned this. This is a strategy that I’ve written about extensively in other places.

And for hundreds more tips and strategies like this you may be interested in The Compendium of Productivity Tips for Professors, a step-by-step guide, which I developed to help others have a successful semester and a compelling academic career.  I wish I’d had it.

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