Here are my top 5 tips for creating a minimalist workspace. Not all will be applicable to you and your situation of course, so just pick the ones that will work best for your workflow.
Clear up your desk and drawers. Of all the things that are currently on your desk, do you absolutely, positively need them all? If not, why not clear as much of it away?
Remember; try to keep only the essentials around so that you workspace will feel more comfortable. Toss the un-necessaries. Go through each drawer and remove all the things you do not need. Keep them orderly and don’t just toss things in there just to get them out of sight! While you’re at that, why not get rid of those boxes under the table and in the corner that you have not opened in ages? Clear all those things from your wall that don’t need to be there too!
Clear your computer desktop. I only did this earlier today and my Mac’s desktop looks so much more simplified. People tend to have lots of icons on their computer desktop that can be placed in a folder or some other place on their computer. I’ve seen computers that had so many icons on them that it was virtually impossible to find files. That’s no way to work! If it is necessary to keep files on your desktop because you’re working on them why not use a hotkey to call them up? Both Mac and PC have great programs for this.
Simplify the way you file. It really is not necessary to keep paper copies of files you have on your computer, can access online or are backed up online or to some removable device. The great thing with backing up your files is that they you can search them easier as they are in a digital format, as opposed to sifting through a stack of paper. If paper usage is a must for your line of work or business, then make sure you file things right away so that you don’t misplace them or accidentally throw them away and be sure to file things in alphabetical order. This makes finding things easier when you are ready for them.
Reconsider your paper needs. As I mentioned above, when I started doing this I realized that by eliminating my need for paper I was not only saving on the cost of paper, I was also saving on toner for my printer, pens, pencils and other items. I was also able to finally wean myself off my fax machine and started encouraging clients to email me instead. By eliminating or reducing the use of paper you can save a lot of money in the long run.
Have only one inbox. If you can’t get away from the use of paper, the very least you can do is keep them in a central place. Put all paper, such as bills, reminders, stickies, messages and other items in this tray. I purchased a really attractive box from a gift shop just for this. Don’t leave papers scattered. Once you put things in the inbox, don’t forget them there! Clear it out daily, too.