Three (Free!) Things You Can Do Today for a More Organized Desk

I recently realized my desk was stressing me out. It was no longer a surface for working — instead, it had become a repository for junk mail, old assignments and unused freebies. Your desk should help you do your job, not hinder it. That's why mine just underwent a complete overhaul.

Here are three things you can do today to organize your desk for maximum efficiency. And they're totally free!

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  1. Edit your supplies: It's easy to acquire an absurd number of pens, pencils and highlighters. They're given away everywhere and seem totally practical — so they're never thrown away. Grab every single writing utensil in your desk and select 10 that you actually like and use regularly. Give the rest away.
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  3. Create a digital file cabinet: One of the biggest areas of stress for me was my file drawer. It was full of documents I hadn't looked at for 10 years. It can be intimidating, but the first step is to open the file and shred anything you don't absolutely need. Anything you do need, scan and put it in a folder on your computer called "File Cabinet." Within that file, you can create subfolders for your financial information, vehicles, and insurance, for example. Don't forget to back up this file to an external hard drive or to a cloud service like Google Drive.
  4. Put a stop to unsolicited mail: Junk mail was one of my biggest problems. I would throw it into my desk until one day I'd open the drawer and coupons for kebabs and life insurance offers would explode all over my floor. If this sounds familiar, the Federal Trade Commission has put together a list of ways you can stop most unsolicited mail. Some of the most frustrating mail for me was the endless credit card offers. By calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting optoutprescreen.com, you can stop all credit card and insurance offers for five years.

(Images: Gregory Han's Tech Tour, Nick Keppol's Tech Tour and Elizabeth Giorgi's desktop)

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