Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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10 Easy Tips on How You can Get and Stay Organized


We all know that we should maintain a clean work area for efficiency and productivity, but if you saw my office, you would not be positively impressed. I must work constantly to keep clutter under control. Files, papers, reports, ideas for new books and workbooks, folders, and client projects are everywhere.

Getting and staying organized is a constant struggle for me. I tend to put my projects in piles, which looks like clutter, and then I cannot find the things I need, so I am constantly sorting and resorting through piles, creating more piles, which is clutter.

Every week I spend at least an hour (usually Saturday mornings) organizing and reorganizing my workspace, because I know I work better with a tidier space.

I admire people who always keep a clean desk. My desk is only clean and tidy once a week, and that is when I purge paperwork, put things back where they belong, and file paperwork.
I must work really hard at organizing and clearing my workspace.

For people who are naturally neat, you already know this.

1.Clear your desk and declutter.

2.Get rid of unnecessary files, devices, and cables on your desk.

3.Strive for a clean working space as much as possible. Keep only the equipment you use daily or frequently.

4.Store other documents or gear into drawers, files, or bins, and keep the workspace organized.

5.Have a filing system, either paper or electronic, to store all your files. Routinely check the contents and see whether you still need the documents or not. Keep what you need organized into labeled folders so you can find what you want quickly.
I just read that the average person spends over 5,000 hours of their life looking for things around their house or around their workspace. Regaining that time is the goal.

6.Declutter your computer. Clean your desktop screen, and only keep computer files that you use regularly.

7.Delete all unnecessary files and uninstall apps you no longer use. Organize your important files.

8.Update older apps.

9.Delete all outdated but necessary apps.

10.Remove unnecessary programs and files from your computer to improve processing power and speed up your computer processing.


  1. Gina R Miller

    Love this Mary as I’m guilty of having a cluttered and piled workspace that drives me bonkers! GREAT advice!

    • Mary Kelly

      Gina! You are so wildly productive too!

  2. Betty Garrett

    Great advice and plan to work on this Saturday. You are the best expert/professional speaker on leadership, communication and managing burnout. You are a true asset to the speaking industry while making a different in people’s lives.

    • Mary Kelly

      Thank you Miss Betty! You are always so encouraging! You are the best! Miss you!

  3. Marshall R Wilmot

    Hi Mary – I saw you in Phoenix last month and your talk was FANTASTIC! I am the National President of NEW PATHS, a professional association for those in the human services field ( I’m really hoping we can have you as our keynote speaker when the conference comes to Scottsdale in 2023.

    I think these tips for getting/staying organized are awesome. May I have permission to reprint them in our association newsletter (with appropriate credit given to you, of course).

    All my best,


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