2 Quick Steps to Increase Productivity Now

2 Quick Steps to Increase Productivity Now!

Would you like to painlessly boost your productivity today?  Here are two simple ways to improve your productivity, save you time and give you a little clarity.

1.  Clean off the top of your desk or workstation.

computer desk ready for work

Really.  Remove everything from the top of your desk.  Leave the computer monitor and the phone.  You don’t need to mess with those—that will make more work.  But everything else needs to go. No matter how critical you think it is to your work life, take it off your desk.

Dust your desktop and your monitors and clean the phone.  Wipe the phone down with an alcohol wipe; get all the grime and dirt and germs off it.  Once you’ve done that, look at all the stuff you took off the desk. Yes, the piles, the pens, the sticky notes, the business cards, the mail, etc., etc.  Give it a quick sort and figure out what you really need.

For me, critical desk items would be my pen cup (empty out all but your favorite and most-used implements here—the spare pens can go somewhere else), my notepad, my timer (find out why here), my sticky notes and my water bottle.  That’s it.

I really don’t need the canned air, yesterday’s mail, the memory cards that need reformatting or the Chinese Fortune Sticks. Are those stress balls and Kid Meal toys really helping you get more done?  If not (and you know the answer is no), find them a new home.

Now, doesn’t that look better?  Doesn’t that feel better? Do this at least once a week and you’ll find that you are working better and thinking more clearly.

2. Clean out the drawers.

Confession:  I have  computer desk; it has no drawers (yes, that is my desk in the picture and all the workspace I have). That’s one of the reasons my desk top gets messy. What I do have is a set of rolling drawers that sits next to my desk, but it’s just out of reach. Since I don’t have a dedicated office where I can keep everything, most of my office supplies live in the basement store room so the drawers have become my portable office for things I need on a regular basis.

When I am tidying up in a hurry, or when my kids don’t want to take something back to the basement, it gets stuffed in my drawers. As a result, they end up cluttered and messy and full of stuff I don’t need. Giving the drawers a quick clean out can produce some amazing finds.

Let’s do this one drawer at a time. Open the drawer, take EVERYTHING out of it and wipe down the inside. Turn it upside down over the wastebasket if you need to and get all the little cruddy stuff out. Look at the contents you have taken out and decide what really needs to be there. If it isn’t something you use regularly in your work, consider finding it a new home.

Yesterday my desk gave up two tape measures, a flashlight, an empty tape dispenser, some colored pencils, a compass (the math kind, not the Boy Scout kind), three checkbook covers and some other junk. It may not seem like a lot, but my drawers aren’t very big. If you have larger drawers, put a drawer organizer on your shopping list.  My favorite—especially for the pencil drawer—is a silverware divider. They are just the right size for most desk drawers and the perfect for sorting writing implements.

Take a look at what you got from the desktop and the drawers. Throw away the trash and the broken stuff and then get rid of everything that isn’t helping you be more productive. Your kids’ art supplies and homework tools can go into a labeled bin in the closet that they can access when they need it. Receipts and other forms should be filed in your file box or cabinet.

If you keep in or on your workspace only what you currently need, you’ll find your workday going more smoothly, you won’t waste time trying to find things, your productivity will go up and your stress level will go down.

What’s your biggest productivity challenge or your best tip?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below and let’s all get more successful together.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Marie,
    You are right with your blog. You can work more productive and efficiently when you have a clean work place. I’m practicing it now.
    Thanks for the tips!

  2. I for one have to be in an organized room to work. I work standing in my dining room sometimes and my office work space has to be clear as well. Us humans live in a very “distracting and disruptive” time..we need to eliminate all he noise whenever possible 🙂 Great post Marie!!

  3. Thanks for the tips Marie, can you come clean my desk off ~ I want mine to look like yours! I agree with you 100%, having a clean space makes me so much more productive. As for the drawers, well they are my only saving grace right now – maybe I’ll get to them next year! For now, I need a place to put all that stuff from my desk . . .

    1. I would be happy to, Jennifer, though it will probably be 6 months or so before I’m down that way again–can you wait that long?

  4. Great tips Marie, it really frees up the energy and so we become more productive for sure. I personally wouldn’t even start working with mess around me, it is so vital for my creativity and productivity! Have a wonderful day! 🙂

  5. Marie, you have totally inspired me to clean and organize my workspace. I opened a drawer and was amazed what I found. Thanks for the great tips!

    1. Amazing what lurks in those drawers, isn’t it, Lisa? I clean mine pretty regularly, but there is always at least one item that I look at and wonder how it made its way into my desk.

  6. I have no desk…I use whatever table is clear, but I must admit, when working on the dining room table, I do tend to leave it a bit messy. I will commit to clean my table off this evening! Thanks Marie.

  7. I love this! I’m a cleaning nut and often do this. I still have a lot of stuff on my desk, but it feels so good to clean and reorganize!

    1. If nothing else, Mandy, I find it much easier to dust when I’ve removed everything from my desktop. And I’ve seen how important it is to keep my electronics as dust-free as possible.

  8. You can’t be more right on this. I in fact just did all this last weekend. I actually bought a new desk to accommodate my work habits, keeping everything nearby, and in doing so had ALOT of things I disposed of. I feel lighter. Weird, but true.

    1. Amazing how sometimes the simplest things are the most effective, isn’t it?

  9. Keep it simple, isn’t that best way for everything?
    Neat and tidy is very helpful in being productive in all areas of your life.

  10. Love your tips in this article Marie! I “almost” always clear my desk at the end of the day…otherwise I really don’t feel to good the next! Thanks for the inspiration and reminder.

  11. great advice! I try to get to the smooth surface once a week – sometimes it just piles instead! uggrh!

  12. Oh my, my workstation is a DISASTER right now. (I’m in the course of moving this weekend.) I can’t wait to setup my new work area, because I know it’ll make a difference! Thanks for this.

    1. Moving is always tough, Mona, even when it’s a great move. No matter how well we plan or how organized we are, there is always that stage when things are just a mess. Good luck with the move.

  13. Marie, I couldn’t agree with you more. I love my desk to be clean and organized, it helps to increase my productivity. Thanks
    for the advice.


    1. If my surroundings–and especially my desk–get too cluttered, my creativity and my mojo seem to end up buried under the clutter. I just work so much better when things are uncluttered and clean.

  14. I took your advice on #1 right away. Loving my new ‘look’! Who knew there was a desk under here lol.

  15. Linda Yarbrough@Medi says:

    Suck a good article, Marie with great advice. Wow. I thought my desk was really organized recently but now that I look around .. I have some work to do. I leave prescription bottles that need to be filled on my desk in eye-shot so I won’t forget to order them. In fact, I sort of have a to-do list right on top of my desk (It’s large – the desk AND the to-do-piles).

  16. I tend to be a sporatic cleaner. I always LOVE it when my desk and office is clean, but I often tolerate the messiness for WAY longer than I’d like before cleaning. Thank you for the re-inspiration 🙂

  17. Hi Marie,
    I always keep my desk clean, even removing everything once a week and dusting it. Now, what’s inside the drawers is a different story.

    I need to do some cleaning and removing in there.

  18. As soon as I finish this post I will clean my desk off. I let it go since I am not always working from it. Great tips, and I need to do this like now!

  19. I am in with Kim. I like to clean my desk (or at least main work area) every night before I leave. If I couldn’t get anything else fully completed that day, at least I achieved that and can leave on a high note.

  20. I am with Kim. I try to leave my desk (or at least main workspace) clear before leaving for the night. If I couldn’t finish anything else, I did that and can leave on a high note!

  21. I like to clean my desk off before I leave the office on Friday, then when I come in on Monday, I’m ready to roll. I only have one little drawer at the desk I have now so it’s not a deal. Love that you mentioned the dusting fact too. So much accumulates even when you do it weekly.

    1. When I was in the corporate world, it was always my goal to leave my desk clean on Friday so I would be ready to go on Monday mornings. Now that I work at home, it doesn’t work so well as my kids and my husband like to leave things on my desk for me to deal with. It really does make a difference, doesn’t it?