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How do your ordanize your desk?

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  • How do your ordanize your desk?

    Hi everyone.

    I am new to GTD and I need some advice on organizing my desk. Currently, I have a wire inbox and a stack of those lovely black, plastic, stackable trays labled "Agendas," "To Read," "Waiting for," "Delegated," "Someday," and "Projects." In each tray, I have manilla folders, neatly labled, with the relevant stuff in each folder.

    I should also say that I use Outlook 2003 for XP with the GTD plug in. It seems like I feel a need to make my physical desk a mirror (with the same folders) as Outlook. The problem is that, on a physical desk, space is at a premium, and I don't like working at an ugly desk.

    So any suggestions as to how you organize your space would be most welcomed. It seems like the hardest part of GTD to me (other than writing next actions instead of vague "tasks") is tying it all together (tying Outlook to folders on the computer to physical folders on the desk to folders at home, etc.)

  • #2
    There's no reason in the world to create a paper mirror on your desk for NAs/Projects/etc. you've created in Outlook. You only need those paper folders for reference support material, or for notes if you like to scribble notes on paper rather than doing it electronically. I would suggest that your processes should be such that you only look in *one* place for any given item. It's either in Outlook because it's an "x, y, z" or it's in a paper file because it's "a, b, or c." If you duplicate functions, you're going to miss some things because you won't check both places.

    "Someday" belongs more in a file folder in a drawer than on your desk, at least to start. In fact, all of your folders can go in a drawer. (Assuming you have one.) If you don't have one and can't get one, I suggest you get a file box or something so you can keep files out of view until you need them.

    Since you like working at a clean desk, I also suggest that all you need is an-in box and possibly another box for today's "in progress" items. which would contain reference materials & notes for your projects. You might try the "office kanban" approach for those projects, in which every project has a tidy folder and you only have one folder open on your desk at any one time. You can google to find lots of sites that describe or reference that system.


    • #3
      A totally clean desk can be an absolute boon if you are constantly interrupted or have to concentrate on a whole load of complicated stuff for a while (or both). I guess it's akin to getting it all out of your mind. If your desk is clear then you can get on with it, dealing with the one task in hand and trust that everything on your desk at that particular time is related to that one task only. Then when someone dumps something else on your desk you're only mildly disrupted.

      If you use an "in drawer" rather than an inbox that can clear your desk even more. Having said all that I believe it's a matter of personal preference how clear their desk is, some people work better in a pigsty and some have the minimalist tendencies. I've seen me at both ends of the spectrum. At least the tidy desk tends to be more socially acceptable although you risk the accusation that since there's nothing on your desk you're not getting any work done!


      • #4
        a pic of my setup

        Here's a picture of my physical setup from my recent post Another GTD Plus - Moving offices made much easier. (Note: There are commented regions if you move your mouse around.)