40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - header

Are you struggling with a messy desk? Transform your workdays (or school days) with these expert tips to organize your desk for productivity, enhance your focus, and elevate your workspace. From identifying clutter to creating a productive workflow, here’s how you can optimize your desk for success. (Plus, it just feels amazing to clear the clutter and set your desk up in a way that works for you, not against you.)

How to Organize Your Desk for Productivity

Identify and Remove Clutter.

Research indicates clutter is the best predictor of procrastination. So, choose productivity over procrastination by clearing off everything from your desk. Take stock of what you have and remove items that don’t belong or aren’t essential for your daily tasks.

Sort and Categorize Items.

Group similar items together and categorize everything. For instance, keep office supplies like pens, sticky notes, and paper clips in designated desk organizers.

Evaluate Ergonomic Factors for Comfort.

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Evaluate ergonomic factors for comfort

Ensure your desk and chair are set up to support good posture. Your computer screen should be at eye level (use an adjustable monitor or laptop stand to find the right height), and your chair should support your lower back.

Consider Workflow and Task Requirements.

Arrange your desk in a way that supports your workflow. Place frequently used items within arm’s reach, and create zones for different tasks.

Maximize Natural Light and Minimize Distractions.

Position your desk near a window to take advantage of natural light, which can boost your mood and energy levels.

At the End of the Day, Put It All Away.

Develop the habit of tidying up your desk at the end of each workday.Put away items, clear your desk space, and prepare for the next day.

40 Creative Ways to Organize Your Desk

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Use a rotating carousel

1. Use a Rotating Carousel Organizer.

Invest in a rotating desk organizer, like a Lazy Susan, to keep frequently used items within easy reach. You can organize it into sections for different categories, making it a fun and interactive way to stay organized and efficient.

2. Accessorize while you organize your desk.

We've established that a clutter-free desktop helps maintain focus. But why stop there? Combine decluttering with decorating by using stylish desk organizers so your finished product is an organized + aesthetically pleasing desk.

3. Use a Paper Sorter to Corral Random Papers.

Keep important notes and papers in one place to avoid clutter on your desk. A paper sorter is a great tool for this purpose. By centralizing your notes, you can keep your desk surface clear and still have easy access to important information.

4. Group Similar Items Together.

Organize your supplies by category. For example, keep all your writing tools in one drawer and your electronic accessories in another. Grouping similar items together can streamline your workflow by making it easier to find and use what you need when you need it.

5. Color-Code Your Organization System.

Go beyond just using different colors for different types of documents; extend color-coding to your planner (for different areas of your life or by priorities), to your notebook (for different projects or subjects), to your calendar for different schedules or days of the week. You can even color-code your desk setup to make it easier (and more aesthetically pleasing) to organize your desk supplies.

Color-coding simply makes it easier to find what you need quickly, which can also improve your efficiency and productivity (win, win!).

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Color-code

6. Benefit from a Well Organized Planner or Calendar Book.

Use a planner or calendar to keep track of important dates and tasks. This helps you stay organized and on top of your schedule. A well-organized planner or calendar book can also help you set and achieve your goals more effectively by providing a clear overview of your tasks and deadlines.

7. Add Function to Your Aesthetic.

Choose desk accessories that are both functional and visually appealing. This enhances your workspace while keeping it practical. Combining function and aesthetics can make your workspace more enjoyable and productive, providing a pleasing environment that supports your work.

8. Rotate Decorations.

Change up your desk decorations periodically to keep your workspace feeling fresh and inspiring. Rotating decorations can prevent your home office from becoming stale and monotonous, which can help maintain your motivation and creativity.

9. Put Things You Use Most Near Your Dominant Hand.

Keep frequently used items, like your mouse or notepad, within easy reach to minimize disruption to your workflow. This setup reduces the time and effort spent reaching for essential items, making your work process smoother and more efficient.

10. Give Every Item a Happy Home.

Don't just assign a specific place for each item; choose a place that makes the most sense for you and brings joy and a sense of well-being to your workflow. When every item has a happy home, it becomes easier to maintain an orderly workspace, reducing stress and saving time.

11. Personalize Your Space.

Add personal touches to your desk, such as photos or decorations, to make it a more enjoyable place to work. Personalizing your home office can make it more inviting and comfortable, which can increase your motivation and productivity.

12. Use Drawer Dividers.

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Use drawer organizers and dividers

Drawer dividers help keep your items sorted and easy to find. Use them to separate different types of office supplies, such as pens, paper clips, and sticky notes. Keeping your drawers organized with dividers can prevent clutter and ensure that your supplies are always accessible when you need them.

13. Use a Desk Mat.

A desk mat can protect your desk surface and provide a smooth area for writing and using your mouse. A desk mat can also enhance the aesthetics of your workspace, making it more enjoyable to work at your desk.

14. Label Everything.

Labels help you and others know where things belong. Label your desk supplies, folders, and storage bins. Proper labeling can save time and reduce confusion, making it easier to maintain an organized workspace.

15. Keep a Notebook Handy.

Always have a notebook on your desk to jot down ideas and tasks as they come up. Keeping a notebook handy ensures that you can quickly capture your thoughts and ideas, which can help you stay organized and on top of your tasks.

16. Utilize Vertical Space.

Install shelves or use vertical organizers to keep items off your desk. This maximizes your desk space and keeps your workspace tidy. Utilizing vertical space can significantly increase your storage capacity and keep your desk surface clear, which can enhance your focus and productivity.

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Use desk organizers and wall organizers

17. Invest in a Desk Organizer.

A desk organizer can hold all your essentials, from pens to notebooks, keeping them within easy reach but off your desk surface. A good desk organizer can streamline your workflow by keeping your most-used items organized and easily accessible.

18. Use Desk Accessories.

Choose desk accessories that match your style and needs. From pen holders to paper trays, find accessories that keep you organized. The right desk accessories can enhance both the functionality and aesthetics of your workspace, making it more pleasant and productive.

19. Keep a Cleaning Schedule.

Regularly clean your desk to prevent dust and clutter from accumulating. A clean desk can improve your focus and productivity. Establishing a routine cleaning schedule can help you maintain a tidy and organized workspace, which can enhance your overall work performance.

20. Utilize Digital Tools.

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Utilize digital tools

Use digital tools and apps to keep track of your tasks and schedule. This reduces the need for paper and keeps you organized. Digital tools can provide powerful features for managing your tasks and schedule, helping you stay organized and productive.

21. Create a Filing System.

Develop a filing system for your papers and documents. Use folders and labels to keep everything organized and easy to find. A well-organized filing system can save you time and reduce stress by ensuring that all your important documents are easily accessible when needed.

22. Keep a Minimalist Approach.

Adopt a minimalist approach to your desk organization. Keep only what you need on your desk and store the rest. A minimalist workspace can reduce distractions and help you focus better on your tasks, leading to increased productivity.

23. Use Multi-Functional Furniture.

Consider using multi-functional furniture, such as desks with built-in storage or fold-out tables, to maximize space and functionality in your home office. Multi-functional furniture can help you make the most of your available space while keeping your workspace organized and efficient.

24. Store Supplies in Bins.

Use storage bins to keep your office supplies organized and out of sight. Label the bins for easy access. Storing supplies in bins can help keep your desk surface clear and make it easier to find what you need quickly, enhancing your productivity.

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Stow items when not in use

25. Use Desk Trays.

Desk trays can help you organize papers and documents. Use separate trays for incoming and outgoing items. Using desk trays can streamline your workflow by keeping your papers organized and easily accessible.

26. Minimize Distractions and Noise Pollution Around Your Desk.

There’s more than one type of clutter that can trip up a productive desk setup: digital distractions and noise pollution. Text, email, and social notifications crashing your clean and organized flow state is no fun. Turn them off for a designated time. Use a stress-free hourglass on your desk instead to focus on the task at hand until the sand runs out.

27. Keep Your Desk Facing the Door.

Position your desk so that you can see the door. This can help you feel more secure and focused. Facing the door can also reduce distractions and interruptions, allowing you to concentrate better on your work.

28. Add Plants.

Plants can improve air quality and add a touch of nature to your workspace. Choose low-maintenance plants that thrive indoors. Adding plants to your workspace can create a more pleasant and inviting environment, which can boost your mood and productivity.

29. Keep a Water Bottle.

Stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle on your desk. Choose one with a spill-proof lid to avoid accidents. Staying hydrated can improve your focus and energy levels, helping you stay productive throughout the day.

30. Set Up a Charging Station.

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Create a charging station

Create a designated area on your desk for charging your devices. Use a charging station to keep cables organized. A dedicated charging station can keep your desk tidy and ensure that your devices are always ready to use.

31. Create a Task List.

Keep a running list of tasks to stay organized and on track. Use a checklist or a simple notepad. A task list can help you prioritize your tasks and ensure that nothing important is overlooked.

32. Use a Desk Lamp.

A desk lamp provides focused lighting for your workspace. Choose one with adjustable brightness to reduce eye strain. Proper lighting can improve your focus and reduce fatigue, helping you stay productive for longer periods.

33. Incorporate Inspirational Quotes.

Place motivational quotes on your desk to keep you inspired and focused throughout the day. Inspirational quotes can provide a mental boost and help you stay motivated and positive while working.

34. Create a Portable Workspace with a Lap Desk with Storage.

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Whether you need a hybrid workspace solution, or you just want to change up your environment from time to time for fresh inspiration, try a lap desk! Be sure to get a lap desk that both adjustable (for ergonomic support) and has enough storage space for your essentials.

35. Schedule Regular Breaks.

Take regular breaks to avoid burnout and maintain productivity. Use a timer to remind you to take breaks. Scheduling breaks can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

36. Keep a Trash Can Nearby.

Having a trash can close to your desk helps you quickly dispose of unwanted items and maintain a clean workspace. A nearby trash can makes it easier to keep your desk tidy and free of clutter, which can enhance your productivity.

37. Use a Desk Calendar.

40 Ways to Organize Your Desk for Productivity - Use a desk calendar

2024 desk calendar pictured above. Shop new arrivals in our best-selling Calendar Collection.

A desk calendar helps you keep track of important dates and deadlines. Choose one that suits your style. A desk calendar can provide a visual overview of your schedule, helping you stay organized and on top of your tasks.

38. Use a Magnetic Board with Accessories

Install a magnetic board on the wall or the side of your desk, like a wall organization center with a magnetic insert board and accessories. Use magnetic containers, clips, and hooks to hold key desk essentials to save time and free up more desk space.

39. Use Sticky Notes.

Sticky notes are great for jotting down quick reminders and ideas. Keep them on hand for easy access. Sticky notes can help you capture your thoughts and ideas quickly, keeping you organized and on top of your tasks.

40. Keep Your Desk Clean.

Regularly wipe down your desk to keep it clean and free of dust. A clean desk can improve your focus and productivity. Maintaining a clean workspace can enhance your overall work experience, making it more pleasant and productive.

There are so many ways and even more reasons to organize your desk. Just remember, organization is less of a destination and more of a healthy habit. It may take time to cultivate; so give yourself some grace and do a little bit every day. If you fall behind during a particularly busy week, that's okay! Clear the clutter as soon as you're able and start enjoying the benefits of a clutter-free, beautifully organized desk (and mind) again. Start with fun and functional desk organizers that motivate and inspire you.

For more tips on organizing your workspace, check out our articles on organizing your WFH desk, decorating your desk, and easy ways to declutter and destress.