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Another day in the office. You shuffled a few papers around on your desk, and filed a few half-read ones in your case before clipping it shut. A couple of colleagues poke their heads around the door to ask if you are ready for that end of day pint. You glance quickly around the office, pick up your bulging case from the side of the desk, the coat and brolly from the corner of the office, and quickly follow them out of your office, leaving behind whatever’s happened and half completed that day to be considered, sorted out, or shuffled around again in the morning.

And freedom beckons to end your day!…..


Have you ever known days like this?


Maybe quite often?…..

Well you’re in good company if you have!

I’ve discovered a mop up session and a clear desk is a great way to end your day. Just for a few minutes. It helps to clear your head (and your conscience) before you leave, and it prepares you mentally and emotionally for the next day.

Simple example – do you have a clear desk policy?

Confession time – I am not the world’s leading expert when it comes to keeping a clear desk. In fact there have been times over the years when I have been appalled at the mess I have discovered when I have entered my office in the morning.

And how has that made me feel?

Disorganised. Inefficient. Stressed. Even depressed.

Some people seem to be programmed to be natural tidy people. And some of us are programmed – well – differently. But I have also discovered that the more effort I have put into organising my office space, the more organised and efficient I have become as a person. I don’t want to overstate the mundane – but it has rather transformed my working life!

Many organisations have written formal clear desk policies which becomes part of the expected working practice of their business. And their business success benefits as a result. If you are a leader in your organisation, you may wish to consider drafting and implementing such a policy.


1. PLAN IT! – Start your day with a clear plan of what you’re going to do that day – AND STICK TO IT! Don’t let distractions get in your way! When you start a job, finish it! If you start something and get distracted to do something else, you will always find that by the time you get back to the job in hand, it takes twice as long to remember where you were at and complete the job efficiently. And if you put something to one side when you’re half way through it, chances are it will end up in a pile of half-finished jobs that gradually crowd your desk.

2. CLEAN IT! – At the end of the day, literally remove everything from your desk surface. Sweep a duster across it, and look at it before you go home. The sight of the uncluttered desk will help to keep your mind uncluttered on your way home, will help to give you a good night’s sleep, and will give you more positive energy the next morning.

3. GET RID OF IT! – For each item that crosses your desk, ask the question, is this something I could ELIMINATE, AUTOMATE OR DELEGATE? If you are trying to do everything, you are definitely doing far too much and will not be achieving anything like your best most efficient potential! So each time a task arises, consider whether it actually needs doing at all – if it is not contributing to the present or future development of your business, why are you wasting your time and energy? Put it in the bin! And if it is relevant, are you the right person to action it? Is there someone better equipped to deal with it. And if it’s a repeat task, can you find a way to automate the process so that it no longer crosses your desk needlessly?

End your day purposefully so you can start your next day with equal purpose!

Thanks for reading!

Jeremy Tomlinson



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