THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

January 11, 2010 Is National Clean Off Your Desk Day!

Take a good look at your desk. What do you see? Piles of paper. Unopened envelopes. Half-empty coffee cup. Part of last Wednesday's lunch. Experts say the average desk worker has 36 hours worth of work on their desk at any one time. No wonder we waste up to 3 hours a week just "looking for stuff."

Today is the day to change all that. It's Clean Off Your Desk Day. So let's get started.

Take everything off your desk and out of your desk drawers. Make three piles or place things into three boxes labeled, "keep", "toss" and "move." Keep is for those things you must keep. Toss is for all the junk you can get rid of. And move is for those items that either don't belong to you or don't belong in your office.

Now that your desk is bare, clean it, your computer and your phone. Cleanliness is a big issue. Your desk has about 400 times the amount of bacteria as a toilet seat (yuck). And according to the University of Arizona, your computer keyboard is one of the top five most germ contaminated spots in the office, including the shared microwave.

Get some sanitary wipes and wipe down your desk, chair and cabinets. You can use sanitary wipes on your computer screen and keyboard but make sure it is disconnected. Compressed air is an excellent way to clean in between the keys of your keyboard. After you are finished, wipe it down, but don't plug it back in until it is completely dry.

As you begin to put desk items, back to do in a way that makes sense. Of the items you chose to keep, put them into three categories. Those that need immediate attention. Items that need follow up, and things that you can pass a long to other -- delegate. Keep up with this practice.

The same is true for your email inbox. Create similar types of folders and limit the number of emails that clutter your inbox impacting your productivity.

An organized work system not only enhances your productivity, but may improve your health as well. So here's to "National Clean Off Your Desk Day!" Celebrate.