Is It Time To Clear that Desk? (A little reminder, Clear Desk, Clear Mind)

In this episode of Learn Share Grow I teach you a simple system that will clear that desk and help you get back into that focused mode where you can actually complete what needs to be completed. It's a 2 stage process that will not only allow you to focus, but also provide an ongoing management system so you aren't constantly loosing that focus to 100 different things.


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Ladies and Gentlemen, Learn Share Grow live with Hayden Wilson. Today I’ll be sharing with you a few tips on how you can start to become more creative in your workspace by having a clean desk.

Now there are studies to prove that by having a clean desk we can start to be more creative and realise our true capacity because what happens is, and I know that some of you will have a ton of piles around you, like I used to have, on my desk, of work that I needed to complete and action steps and this and that – so much junk around my desk that what quite often happens is, when looking at the computer, something catches our eye and then you think, ‘oh yeah, I’ve got to get that done’ and that creates stress. Then all of a sudden, when we’re looking at that we find three other piles and all of a sudden this snowball effect happens where we get this momentum and we feel overwhelmed by all these tasks we have to do without going back and focussing on what we should actually be focussing on. By having all these different piles and different tasks, we get quite confused and the brain doesn’t know how to prioritise – it becomes overwhelmed and shuts down, and it’s no good for any kind of creative process.

So what we’ve got here is my little man and he’s a typical office worker or regular sort of person with a bunch of different items around his desk. He’s very frazzled, his hair is out of control and he’s overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done. What I’m going to show you, is a system that I’ve used that totally clears out all the junk and helps you to refocus on what you actually need to get done – back to our creative work and produce the results that we need to produce.

The very first thing that you need to do is to ‘clear’. So I want you to remove every single thing off your desk and give it a spray and wipe. I want you to clean it and realise that this is your workspace, this is where you’re creative so I want you to clear everything off and put it into main piles – we’ll deal with the piles in a minute, but your first task is to get everything off your desk, off the table, whichever environment you work in, and then we’re going to realign it and start to realise what you actually need on this desk that’s going to help you right now.

The next step is, we’re going to have three different piles. The first pile is our ‘trash’. These are items that we no longer need, they no longer serve us, we look at them and analyse whether we still need this right now, is it serving its purpose or has it already served its purpose, do I need it, that’s the main question here. If you don’t need it, I want you to shred it, throw it away, get rid of it, burn it, whatever you need to do. You don’t need it on your desk providing clutter and cluttering up your brain so just get rid of it, bite the bullet.

If you do think it might be useful, but you don’t need it right now, it’s going to go into our second category which is ‘archive’. With the archive, I have an expandable, alphabetically ordered sorter and what I do with that is anything important that I might need, say bank statements or any other important documents that I need for a later date, or just want to keep on record, I put it into my organised folder and then when I need to reference important things it’s all there in the one spot but not sitting on my desk. I don’t need it right now but I might in the future so I’m not going to throw it out, but I don’t need it right in front of me, clogging up my space. So I put it into my alphabetical order, easy to reference and easy to get into.

The third pile that we are going to have is ‘action’. These are items, and I want you to take a look at them, because of the 30 items or 10 items or whatever items that we have on our desk, we might really only need a small percentage of those items to actually do what we need to do. So put those into it, and every day you might need to visit them and think ‘can I do this right now?’ ‘yes I can, this is a good time to do it’ , so set aside some time and then punch through it. Or you might decide ‘that needs to wait until later in the week’ and put it at the bottom of the pile or whatever system you find works for you within that action pile and then you decide ‘okay I’m going to dedicate an hour later in the week to get those tasks done’.

By just having one pile on your desk of things you actually need to do, and you can put it into the stacking plastic containers like I have, but just by having one pile, instead of 30 different piles around you, it’s going to make your brain focus on what you actually need to get done. So we’ve gone from an entire desk of items and culled it back, and now all we have on that desk is perhaps our computer, our telephone, some very basic stationery – many times I see desks that have every piece of stationery under the sun, the hole punch, the stapler, the pens, the highlighters, the textas, everything that they can think of, but what do you actually need right now? Can it go in the drawer, away from us, and get us to a clear playing field? If you’ve got a bunch of stuff like that, remember don’t put it back on the desk until you actually need it. Put it in a drawer, put it somewhere else, don’t clog up the workspace. We’ve got the phone, the computer, whatever we need for the important document or task we are working on right now, pull it from the action task or whatever you’re doing and have it right there so you can reference it, rather than having, like I said, the entire plethora of piles that we all are used to having, clear that out and you’re going to find it helps clear your mind and you’re going to get a lot more done.

Remember the number one rule. None of that other stuff matters, the only thing that matters in business and in life is results.

So if you have any questions please feel free to chuck them in the comments below and I’ll get to them. Otherwise, jump over to Thanks for watching. This has been Learn Share Grow live. Catch you next time. Ciao.