All day, every day, I have a constant flow of students in and out of my small classroom. By the end of the school day, my desk is a disaster. Littered with stacks of student work, files, half-finished evaluations, stimulus cards, random pencils, and my half eaten lunch (ugh), it is not a pretty sight.
Before I leave work, I clear my desk so it is ready for the next day. When I enter my room in the morning, I’m greeted with a fresh, clear work space.
These are the steps I use to ensure a peaceful work area.
- Schedule ten minutes at the end of the day to clear your space. The end of the day is always so rushed, but I had to make this a priority for myself, so I would be calmer and more at peace when I started the next work day.
- Take everything off your desk that isn’t a permanent fixture. Don’t try to move your computer, phone, or lamp.
- Wipe your desk down with a cleaning cloth. I use an antibacterial wipe, to make sure I’m killing all the kids’ germs.
- Put files in the filing cabinet, even if you haven’t finished working on that big report. Make note of it on your to do list.
- Look through the rest of your pile. Toss what needs to be tossed, file what you can, put the rest on your to do list and put in your “to do” basket, file, or drawer.
- Make sure all of your to do items are on your master list of things to be done
- Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
Take note of how you feel when you enter your office and the desk is clear. How do you feel when your desk isn’t clear? Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you feel anxious? Do you feel more at ease in a clear space? Make note of your feelings, but don’t judge yourself. Acknowledge the feeling and let it pass.
It’s not an overnight process to establish and maintain a routine of clearing, but once you do, the payoff is immediate.