by Lisa Grimaldi | March 01, 2006

Is your desk drowning in paper, mired in mail or caked with crumbs? Following are some tips for keeping your work space clutter-free, courtesy of Doylestown, Pa.-based productivity expert Neen James.

Strip it down. Keep only the bare essentials on your desk: phone, computer and (if you use one) a daily planner. Try to do without an in-box, and ask workmates to place new papers or files on your desk or seat, where you’ll see them.

No paper trails. To keep your desk free of paper, establish specific files for current projects. Also create a reading file for articles, clippings or publications you want to save and review when you have a bit more time. Review these files once a week, and discard what you can.

Don’t eat at your desk. Make a point of eating elsewhere to avoid making a mess.

Clean daily. At day’s end, take 10 minutes to dispose of dirty coffee cups, empty water bottles, etc. Put away pens and note pads, and file documents. Leave each day with a clear desk so you can start the next day afresh.