How to Set Up and Organize Your Workspace

For many years I struggled at my desk, it was difficult to concentrate on my work, and there was always many assignments to thing was certain, the work had to be done, and I did not have the liberty of excuses, so I struggled to complete task after task every day. My life was so busy and stressful that I began to think of ‘running away.’ One day, I had to use my colleague's computer and office for two days. It was almost magical. Everything seemed so easy and perfect, so different from the experience in my office. And then I became aware of my environment. Everything was in the right place, easy to reach and use, I thought to myself “I could do this too,” I had to give it a try. That was how I started planning to rearrange my workspace.


Workspace styling was an amazing experience for me, and it was immensely successful. It is an on-going process, even to this day I still look out for areas I can improve, and I make the changes. And my life? It turned out so much better, I was more productive, and I worked faster.

In this article, I will be describing how I did it! What worked for me can help you set up and organize your workspace. Let's start with the mistakes many people make.

Common mistakes that can reduce your productivity in the office.

Poor space management

My old-self believed everything had to be on my desk and around me. I had pictures(too many) awards, stationary, paper, pens, phones, and other items I believed I would need very soon (but I never use them), chairs I had bought on impulse, big file cabinets that were underutilized, etc. I was didn’t make good use of my workspace.

A messy work space

Being sentimental

Those items you feel so attached to, but they are just cluttering your space. They should not be there.

Wrong furniture arrangement

A majority of workspaces are small or medium-sized due to high rental costs. You do not really have all the space for unnecessary furniture.

Unfortunately, if nothing is done about the clutter, you will never feel better about your workspace. Improving my workspace has helped me a lot. This is how I did it:

The Solution

I enjoyed handling this project personally. It is fun and very enlightening. In future, you can remember why you made certain decisions regarding the placement of items and made changes if necessary.

Designed workspace

Get started

In my case I started with my entrance, I think it is a good place for you to start as well. Previously I had to jump over bins and go around chairs to reach my desk. It was not a good experience. I had to ensure that there was a clear pathway from the entrance to my desk. I also made sure that only the relevant furniture remained in my workspace. What you should do is first identify the furniture you actually need, then arrange them in a way that you can quickly walk to your desk and around your workspace without any hindrance.

Regarding the rest of the space, look around, what are the things you do not need? Identify some changes you may need to make such as getting a new desk, some storage boxes, buying new equipment, etc.

For example, instead of having separate devices for printing, photocopying, and for fax messaging, you can buy later models of office equipment that offer these features in one multifunctional device. You can save a lot of space this way.

Sorting out your desk

I will suggest that you clear out your desk before starting. If you can, invest in a new desk that has more drawers for storage. Your goal is to avoid clutter on your desk so only relevant items should be on the desk. The space around your computer should be free from clutter, and your phone should be positioned where you can easily reach out to answer or make phone calls. Get some bright colored paper trays to neatly keep paperwork for on-going projects and printed documents rather than leaving them on your desk. Your drawers are so important. The upper drawers should contain items you use daily such as pens, paper clips, staplers, etc. the lower drawers should contain files and paperwork you often use for reference but not on a daily basis. Use labels to tag your files, so you know the content just by looking at the file.

Get rid of the change, business cards and keys. Don’t leave these items on your desk; find a small bag or a wallet to put them.

Books are so important for reference and research, but they can make your workspace look disorganized if not properly kept. In my case, I got bookshelves that were hung on the wall. It looked better than getting bookshelves or big storage boxes that occupied more floor space. My hanging bookshelf is positioned close by so I can easily reach out to pick a book I need, and I can return it after use.

Can you do without the paper?

I thought it was impossible to have an office in which there is little need for paper. Then I heard about cloud storage services and digital invoicing. I still have paperwork lying around, but there is a huge difference. I do not have to bother about shredding paper and looking for more storage space for receipts. Cloud services provide an adequate means of storage for all my files, and there are countless services online that offer digital invoicing. Some of my vendors still present paper invoices, but I have them transcribed into digital copies. Getting rid of paper made me feel more comfortable in my workspace.


The entire process may take a while, and I mentioned earlier that it is an on-going task. You will keep finding ways to ensure that you eliminate distraction and clutter from your workspace. Don’t forget to let in natural light and find a corner to put your favorite flower. If you get this right, you will be able to work faster and smarter in your workspace.