National Clean Your Desk Off Day: How to Keep a Tidy Desk

01/09/2017 11:06 am ET Updated Jan 17, 2017

If your New Year’s goal is to be more tidy and organized in 2017, take advantage of National Clean Off Your Desk Day. Use it as an opportunity to clear your desk of irrelevant, distracting and disruptive clutter.

Maintaining a shrine of chaos and disorder in your workspace has repercussions you probably haven’t considered.

Here’s how an untidy desk can impact you and how to correct it.

It can damage your professional image. When you see an employee’s office whose desk is hidden by stacks of papers and scattered with personal items and post it note clusters, a natural propensity is to negatively arbitrate them.

As successful as this disorganized person may be, the spectator observes someone who isn’t trustworthy or credible. People may assume you don’t have the ability to take on projects because it will get lost in the landfill on your desk.

Try this instead: Take the last 5 to 10 minutes of each day to clean up your desk before walking out the door. In this time frame, purge any clutter you may have collected or created during the day.

Throw away loose papers that are insignificant, consolidate your notes to one sheet of paper and gather any personal items that need to go home with you. Coworkers will notice your orderly nature and feel motivated to do the same.

You operate inefficiently. A cluttered desk can also take valuable time from your day. You waste time looking for specific items while maneuvering around unrelated articles.

You’re also investing time in rewriting or redoing tasks you’ve already accomplished. When your desk is properly arranged and easily accessible, it’s less distracting. You have a sense of serenity that ultimately leads to increased work productivity.

For increased efficiency: Set up a simple filing system for your documents that consists of 3 categories: important documents, active and archived. Grab a bag for papers you need to shred and a bag for recyclables. Start placing the papers in their new homes. This will make seeing the top of your desk again an effortless task.

You’re more likely to get sick. Being tidy is half the battle – don’t forget about those grimy, microscopic things known as ‘germs.’ According to a study conducted by the University of Arizona, a typical worker’s desk has hundreds of times more bacteria than an office toilet. Germs found on your desk, phone and other private surfaces can cause pneumonia and other serious illnesses.

To eliminate germs in your workspace: Disinfect like it’s your job, at your job! After decluttering, grab a sanitizing wipe and clean the top of your desk, chair, phone and computer screens. Sterilizing your office space daily will significantly reduce bacteria and limit the chances of getting you and anyone else sick.

A recent survey commissioned by Robitussin found that 65% of Americans go to work sick and only 36% wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. Additionally, 73% do not consider a cough as an indicator of sickness. As a safeguard, always sanitize your hands to avert the spread of germs on equipment and office supplies.

You may also like Workplace Protocol for Cold and Flu Season. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, visit her blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, or follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS