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It is often stated that a messy desk is a worked at desk. However, one can hardly get anything done successfully if they are constantly shifting through piles of papers and mail.

How can you avoid a cluttered work area and stay more organized?

* Open mail as soon as you get it. Don't throw the unimportant looking mail on your desk for later perusal. Open it now to see if it's even worth keeping. Half of the clutter on a desk is often times unopened, useless junk mail.

* Buy stacking trays to separate important papers. They cost just a few bucks but will save tons of time.

* On the same note, if you have files you use frequently, store them on top of your desk using a file divider. This keeps the files you need at your fingertips without having to dig through your file cabinet constantly.

* If you have anything magnetic in your office area, take advantage of it. Buy magnets to attach to note pads so they can be placed off of the desk until needed. Metal filing cabinets that are close at hand work well here.

* Invest in a big bulletin board to post all those important notes you need to keep on hand. As soon as you get one, pin it up so you can see it constantly.

* Take the time each day to make sure your area is tidied before you quit working. Don't leave anything stacked once you leave. Not only will it remain there but it will make it harder to feel accomplished the next day if your area is already cluttered and you have not even begun your day.

* If you just absolutely do not have time to read mail or certain papers right away, keep a basket in your work area for all the TO READ LATER stuff. At least this keeps it off your desk and eliminates the clutter.

Organization can take practice. But the feeling of having everything in an assigned place and out from under your nose will make your work days go much smoother. Think about how much more work you can get accomplished each day whereas it used to consist of you having to hunt down notes, phone numbers, files, addresses, etc... Take it by the horns now and stop the clutter. Get organized!