When I wrote about the fact that a massive clean up once in a while isn’t enough to keep our workspaces cleared from distracting clutter, in the Swedish edition of our weekly newsletter Done! before Christmas, Gun-Britt Karlsson got in touch with me.
With regards to keeping the desk clean, she wrote:
”I couldn’t do without my hanging file system. I have folders with the tabs Monday – Friday, January – December, waiting-for and miscellaneous remember-folders. In these folders I have plastic pockets named type, protocol to adjust, next board-meeting, conference, Christmas-party or whatever might be relevant. Then I put the plastic pockets in the right folder and when the activity is completed, the material is filed away in binders and the hanging file folder is reused for the next time the activity occurs. Usually they recur monthly or annually. If it’s a one-time activity I just empty it and reuse the plastic pocket to some other activity.
This system works excellently for me and has done so for many years. I always have an empty desk when I leave the office for the day. It’s great to arrive in the morning, pick up today’s folder and just get on with the day’s work.”
I think it’s an excellent tip.
What Gun-Britt is describing is similar to what I usually call a “tickler file”, but the division of the folders differs slightly. I think it’s smart that she has gathered her papers in “project folders” and that she keeps them in the folder which represents the situation in which she will need them next time.
How do you do it? What’s your way of keeping a clean desk?
Please comment below.