Cleared desk, cleared up mind Part 2

My last article had talked about what it would be like to create a distraction free environment in your workspace. Well you shouldn’t give advice without first taking that advice. I set out to do just that.

I have had a hard time in the past keeping up with tasks and putting objects in their proper places once I was done with them. My desk before my previous post was pretty horrendous.

Really, anything I didn’t know what to do with just migrated to one of many piles going on here.

When I was working here at the desk, not a lot was getting done because I would be constantly picking up something from the piles or having to pick it up when it fell. It was taking up space and attention during the very precious time I have available for work.

I set out to change that. I posted on the last article a few steps to getting a clear work space. Everything needs to start by removing everything and putting it in one pile. I work at home so I had a bit more time and space to get this done, but I then started sorting that one pile into two.

1: Pile that is getting tossed.

Almost 80% of this was paper and old mail that I wasn’t actually going to go through. It was time to get rid of it. I sorted out the things that I actually did need to keep (like my unopened business license) and shredded the things that I wasn’t going to keep.

I should just burn all of it. (it’s getting recycled, don’t worry)

2: Pile that is getting put away.

Things that couldn’t be shredded and couldn’t be out in the open anymore I put into it’s own piles (papers, objects, utensils, and books). I then processed this pile from the left to the right. Everything was getting a home. Only the things that I actually needed on my desk to get work done are what ended up back on there.

This process took almost two hours to complete, but the end result was worth the effort.

Feels much more breathable. Everything about his allows for me to be less distracted.

So what have I learned through this process?
I have learned that my desk was crushing my ability to work without becoming distracted. 
I was constantly shuffling items, keeping them from falling. 
It was taking more time to find things I needed.
It still takes some effort on my part to keep my attention on my work.
Set aside a specific time to go through your stuff that doesn’t impede on the work you need to get done.

Here is the process I used to get this done.

What can you do to keep on top of this in the future?

Well seeing that I have had problems with this and need to create a system. Here is what I plan on doing.

  1. Set aside time and take everything off of my desk
    This will be important in starting off with a fresh and clear working space and allow me to file away and clear tasks I’ve been putting off for a while.
  2. Place only the things I absolutely need to get my work done back on the desk 
    The things that I use constantly that need to be there: My sketchbook, my notebook for articles and thoughts, pens and my computer. Everything else can go.
  3. Start an “Inbox”
    Take a bin of some sort and set it on or next to your desk, as you get new physical items throughout the day that may need to be addressed. Set it in the “inbox”. If you can process whatever it is within 2 minutes, get it done. If not, set an allowance of time after a certain amount of work to clear it out.
  4. Empty it at the end of the day and start each day with a clear inbox
    This will be the most challenging part of my day. Making sure that inbox is clear for me to start fresh each morning.

This has helped increase my productivity and has continued adding value to the work I have been completing. If you feel like you are constantly adjusting things around your work space and can’t seem to focus solely on your work, I implore you to clear your desk to start your projects off free of distractions.

Darian Rosebrook is the Design Lead over at His creative eye is driving us forward as an ever-growing, ever-improving brand.

You can follow our articles here on medium or join us on twitter!