How to: Turn Your Desk Into a Productivity Zone

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 1:26am by Site Administrator

If you’re like many busy people, your desk is full of mail, papers that hold forgotten to-do lists, and perhaps a stray coffee cup or two. This sort of environment just isn’t conducive to productivity. Follow these tips to streamline your work area and get things done.

  • Keep it tidy

    First things first. A tidy desk makes it easier for you to stay focused. Otherwise, you’ll feel overwhelmed by the weight of stuff around you. Organize your papers, corral post-it notes into a journal, and get rid of any random junk. You’ll feel refreshed and can clear the path towards better work.

  • Clean up your computer desktop, too

    A clean virtual desktop is just as important as a the one you’re sitting at. Instead of using lots of specialized tools, find a few super tools that can do multiple jobs and stick with them. Clean out the junk by uninstalling programs you don’t use anymore and archiving old files.

  • File

    Have you ever found yourself scrambling to find a piece of paper you just know you have, but can’t seem to place? Make it easy for you to find what you need by putting everything in a specific spot. You’ll save yourself time and frustration, plus it will be easier to stay on track if you don’t have to stop everything to conduct an extensive search.

  • Keep the essentials close at hand

    Your desk should be stocked with nearly everything you need to do your job. Whether it’s a file cabinet, printer, or pencil sharpener, make sure it’s within reach. If you have to get up and cross the room to use something, you’re likely to get distracted and off track.

  • Don’t goof off

    Make your desk a sacred space for work, and you’ll train your brain. Avoid using your desk for personal projects, storage, or other distracting items, or your attention may be swayed. If you keep your desk purely a work zone, it will be easier for you to get into work mode when you sit down.

  • Have good lighting

    Lighting is essential to productivity. It reduces your eye strain and prevents gloominess. To create productive lighting, focus on using natural light and reflection. Get rid of shadows and glare, and be sure to keep up proper maintenance.

  • Practice desk yoga

    Yoga isn’t just good for health and spirituality, it’s helpful for creativity and concentration as well. Take a moment to be active and mindful, and you’ll refresh your brain. Try out a program like Yoga @ Your Desk to learn about yoga you can do without even leaving your chair.

  • Get a smaller desk

    To get productive, get simple. Using a smaller desk means you’ll have less opportunity to let clutter take over. There’s less room for papers and assignments to pile up, so you’ll be forced to deal with items as they come. This can provide you with an incentive to work more efficiently.

  • Decorate with stimulating colors and design

    Some colors are just more productive than others. White rooms create an environment that supports errors, while bright colors like red are stimulating. If you’re overwhelmed by stimulating colors, blue-green walls are universally productive and relaxing.

  • Practice good ergonomics

    The comfort and efficiency of your body can directly influence productivity. Getting out of an awkward posture simply makes it easier to do any given task and concentrate on your work. It’s also been found to reduce errors.

  • Leave your desk

    That’s right, take a break. The most productive desk is one that you’re not chained to all day. Get up, move around, have a snack or a quick chat with a friend, and you’ll be more refreshed and ready to work again.

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Filed under: Productivity, Resources


  1. Thank you for more great suggestions. I know have a problem with being a cluttering person so every little bit of advise helps me.

    Comment by John D. — December 18, 2007 @ 4:02 am

  2. I love–and needed–this post! My desk usually looks horrible because I’ve never taken the time to truly get it organized. At times I’ve been half-way there, but then let it go again. I’m going to print out this post and start applying these tips. Thanks! :)

    Comment by Hope Wilbanks — December 18, 2007 @ 11:57 am

  3. This is a very good list and has some pointers that I plan on investigating more thoroughly (esp the desk yoga). My compliments to Ms. Hupp for a practical list of items to help the everyday workers productivity.

    Comment by Michael Ramm — December 18, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  4. I’ve got to get my marketing person to realize this.

    Comment by David Reber — December 20, 2007 @ 8:58 pm

  5. Good advice, though I’m wondering what about the factors that really bring stress into our workplace. Nowadays, when talking about workspace we can’t realistically exclude the mention of computers.

    Here is a post from our blog about decluttering your workspace:

    Louise Vinciguerra

    Comment by Louise — February 28, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

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