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Looking for that pen, article, post-it note, or business card wastes your time and costs you vital revenue. So keeping your workspace neat and organized has a big pay-off.

Does your office feel cluttered? Does your desk have any part of its surface that’s free for you to work on? Are you shuffling piles of paper from one place to another?

As an aside, weren’t we told that computers would make our offices paperless? Well, don’t hold your breath… as someone wisely said back in the early days of computers, the paperless office is just as likely as the paperless bathroom

Back to today, if you are constantly walking into your office resolved to get rid of the clutter, you are not alone, and here are some ways to go about the decluttering process. (Of course, you could always order one of the 239 books about decluttering on Amazon, though hopefully you wouldn’t lose it under one or another of the piles.)

A plan for your clean-up project is a good place to start. Sort through the papers, notes and piles on your desk and be willing to toss! Save only those papers that have real value and put them in categories so they will have a home. Make as few categories as possible.

Stop using your desk as a filing cabinet. Review and revise your filing system in your file cabinet and make good use of it so the files you need on a regular basis are close at hand. Color coding is always a good idea. And moving the files you don’t need regularly to another room, garage or closet is a good way of clearing space in your office.

One suggestion that seems to be just plain common sense – though worth mentioning just in case – is to rid yourself of the habit of printing things out to read later. Print only what is really necessary. It saves both paper and space.

Get in the habit of clearing your desk as the last action of the day so you’ll come to a clean desk and space in the morning. It will be more inviting to start fresh without having to first clear up yesterday’s clutter.

If you need space-making or organizing products such as shelving or drawer sets, get them. The ability to stash and store the junk that accumulates in and on your workspace is worth the investment.

Get rid of old magazines, books, articles and other stuff that just sits around gathering dust and creating distraction. It takes a bit of determination, ruthlessness and a willingness to go through the accumulation and get down to the bare minimum. But it’s worth the effort.

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