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Lisa Hess advocates a way to set yourself up for organizing success at work or at home.

Last week, I wrote about my end-of-day routine -- the one that I use to try to create a line between work and home at the end of a work-from-home day. As I was writing the post, I realized that what seemed like three simple steps had a lot more behind them.

Clearing off the desk, for example -- a task I rarely accomplished in 27 years as a school counselor unless I wasn't returning to the same building the next day -- was now part of my nightly routine. Why can I do it now?

It's all in the setup.

Make it functional. When I cleared off my desk, it wasn't an entirely clean sweep. I kept necessary storage on top of my desk so it's easy to keep the desk from getting out of hand during the day. Then, when we switched to online learning, I considered the setup I needed -- down to keeping pens and pencils easily (and neatly) accessible. Having designated homes for everything within reach makes it much easier to clear my desk off, even when I'm tired at the end of the day.

Don't forget to put some fun in functional. When I did the desk revamp, I not only made sure the storage was attractive, but also kept some pretty things out as well. While there's a fine line between decor and clutter, an attractive space can motivate us to keep things looking nice.

Make everything the right size. Container rule #1 -- the size you need with a little room to grow. I've had an auxiliary workspace in my office almost since the room was renovated -- a counter that runs the length of the room. The room is small, but the counter is spacious, which sounds like a good thing but has instead resulted in the counter becoming a magnet for my drop and run style. My small round table, however, is big enough to hold what I need for the day, but small enough that I don't have room for extraneous things, which means it's not too overwhelming to sort at the end of the day when motivation is fading fast.

While every habit (good or bad) develops over time, we can increase the likelihood that a good habit will stick when we make it just as easy to do the thing we want to do as it is to take the shortcut we usually take. Quite honestly, I never thought I'd be a clear-desk-at-the-end-of-the-day girl, and if it weren't for my small table, I wouldn't be now. But, just as a bed that's made suddenly makes the whole bedroom look better, a desk that's in order does the same for an office. Even better, it offers an additional payoff -- stepping into the office to get to work the next day doesn't seem so bad after all.

It's all in the setup: 3 keys to clean-desk success. #catholicmom

Copyright 2020 Lisa Hess
Image: Bongkarn Thanyakij (2020), Pexels