Is Your Messy Desk Killing Your Profits?

messy desk

messy desk

Is Your Messy Desk Killing Your Profits?
Follow These 6 Tips for Organizing Your Desk

“A Clean Desk Is the Sign of a Sick Mind.”

–               plaque seen in gift store


No matter what pithy plaques say to the contrary, every good business owner knows that effective learning starts with a clean slate, a clean desk, and a clean page – and the same is true for business people. Today is April 15, Tax Day! Are you looking at your income and wondering where all your time went and why you didn’t make enough money last year, even though you felt like you were working tons of hours?

According to experts, Americans waste almost 30 minutes a day – 180 hours a year – looking for misplaced items. If your hourly wage is $50, that’s $9,000 a year! I would wager that there are many things you could do with an extra $9,000 or 180 hours this year.

One of the first steps to getting organized is eliminating the clutter, and one of the first places you should tackle is your desk. Here are 6 tips for organizing your desk along with the rest of your workspace.


  1. Set aside some time. The scenario you want to avoid: getting elbow-deep in the organizing process, only to have to dump it all back in the drawers and boxes because you have to stop to finish a report, host a webinar, or pick your kids up from school. While how much time you need will depend on the size of your space (and your mess), a good rule of thumb is an hour for a desk, bookshelf, or file drawer.
  2. Pull it all out. Even though it will make a gosh-awful mess, the quickest and easiest way to start your organizing process is to clear out the drawer, shelf, or desktop. Strip it down to the studs and wipe the surface free of dirt, dust, and stray paperclips. Then you’ll have a fresh surface to work from.
  3. Sort. Sort the items you pulled out into categories, such as paper, writing implements, books, manuals, etc. As you are sorting, toss any obvious offenders, such as scraps of paper, broken items, outdated receipts, etc.
  4. Decide. Choose how many of each item you need – pens, blank notebooks, etc. – and then toss, recycle, or give away the rest. Trying to decide what you need to keep? Think about what you have space for, as well as what you’re likely to use in a reasonable amount of time. You might have room for seventeen replacement cartridges for your printer, but will you use it all before you upgrade to a new printer?
  5. Organize. Replace the items in a logical manner – printing supplies near the printer, business books on a single shelf, computer manuals near the computer, etc. Also think about keeping the most frequently used items in the most accessible place, and less-frequently used items in more remote locales.
  6. Maintain. Unfortunately, organizing is not a one-time event; you must set aside regular times to file paperwork, clear the counters, and take out the trash. Even just five minutes at the end of the day is sufficient to keep a handle on pile build-up.

Organizing is a great way to jumpstart your business success for the rest of this quarter. It will help you get a grip on any new needs you have, as well as remind you of tasks and projects awaiting your attention. You’ll be ready to tackle whatever comes your way with a clean desk, and a clean mind. You may find money laying around or clients just waiting for you to call them.

If you would like to discover more tips and ideas for clearing the clutter and creating more profit in your business, listen to the replay of a FREE webinar:

Why your messy desk is killing your profits!

Here’s what I will be discussing:

  • Why Clutter Kills Creativity
  • How Clutter Impacts your Business
  • What Causes Mental Clutter and How to Clear It

Here’s what will happen when you clear the clutter:

  • Find Hidden Money
  • Find Hidden Treasure
  • Find Brilliant New Business Ideas
  • Find Your Creative Spirit

This webinar is now over but feel free to listen to the replay here:

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  1. Flo Callender on April 15, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Minette, this information is so on time. This week, my daughter and I have scheduled time to re-organize my office area and basement. Thank you for the tips. I will certainly use them.

    Just as clutter minimizes business success, it can sabotage learning. In my work of helping moms move their struggling or failing children to success in school and life, I usually suggest they remove clutter from their children’s learning space and, as far as possible, their home. Thanks, again.

    • minette on April 16, 2014 at 6:47 am

      So true that children need to be clutter-free and the best way to teach them is to model this. I am not always the neatest person and tend to have lots of papers/books stacked on my desk. I have learned that I can’t ask them to do what I am not willing to do myself. Congrats to you and your daughter for setting a goal to get organized this week.

  2. Pam on April 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    So true! I love having a clean desk. It brings me such a sense of calm.

    Not thinking about the date, I walked into my local post office with a package today. I normally would have wanted the clerk to scan my package but there was such a long line of people mailing their taxes. I ended up putting my package in the mailbox. What a relief to have been finished with taxes a few weeks ago!

    • minette on April 16, 2014 at 6:45 am

      So true, Pam, we signed off on ours a few weeks ago also and it felt so good to have it completed and not hanging over our heads.

  3. Linda Joy on April 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Minette great tips! I’ve discovered I’m at my creative best when my work area is clear of clutter. My new practice is at the end of each day by clearing my desk off so I can start fresh every morning. A side note, it always seems that when I do a big seasonal clearing of my office.. I step into the next level of succession in biz.

  4. Laurie Seymour on April 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm


    I love organizing and being organized. Sometimes I drive my husband a little crazy with my attempts to organize his “stuff.” But truly I find that I think better, create more clearly and feel greater clarity when I devote time regularly for clearing things.
    Thanks for your great tips!

    • minette on April 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Laurie, that’s so funny, I gave up trying to get anyone else in my house organized. Hoping that if I can model it, the gang will follow. I wish I was more organized, I am teaching others what I need to learn, too!

  5. Laurie Seymour on April 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    That is a better plan than mine, Minette! Much more relaxed. And too funny–I have that very line about teaching what you need to learn in my own blog post that comes out tomorrow…

    • minette on April 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Sweet, I will have to check out your blog tomorrow, Laurie!

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