Here’s How To Properly Organize An L-Shaped Desk

It’s been proven in studies that an organized desk helps improve productivity at work and reduces stress.

Due to its irregular shape, organizing and even sitting at an L-Shaped desk can pose a conundrum to many.

After all, you want to make use of all the additional space at your disposal. Yet, without a plan you can get sucked into a clutter filled nightmare in a heartbeat.

When organizing an L-Shaped desk, aim to build your computer set-up along the longest horizontal plane (exactly as you would with a standard rectangular desk) and make use of the extension as a dedicated table or file storage space.

It’s tempting to sit in the corner or curve of an L-shaped desk with a monitor positioned directly in front of you. Don’t do this as you will create a ‘dead space’ in the corner behind the monitor, and often result in your display being positioned an unhealthy distance away from your eyes. 

Some tips to take full advantage of the additional space provided by your L-Shaped desk can be summarised by purging rarely used items, storing occasional use items off the desk surface, and establishing a workflow that  in a left to right.

If you have conquered organising your L-Shaped desk you might want to adorn it with a living, breathing houseplant. Here’s a list of indoor plants that grow well from an office desk. 

Organize your workflow from left to right

Our workflow should be organized from left to right, so author Matt Perman suggests in his book ‘How to set up your desk’.  

This standardizes your approach to any task and makes it easy to reach peak efficiency quickly at the start of each day.

The far left would be the file for incoming mail, your general calendar either on the desk or hung on the wall, and your computer.

Your phone, a place for pens, your glasses should be nearby, so set up a space for them to be when not in use.  

The right of your L-Shaped desk is the ‘finishing zone’ so to speak. The place where outgoing mail and finished reports are stacked.

Use a minimalist approach to organizing an L-Shaped desk

The minimalist approach has grown popular in recent years, especially amongst the younger cohort.

Whilst it may not be to everyone’s taste it does have some added benefits that it’s difficult to argue against. One of them is that you can actually find the thing you are looking for when you need it – without having to lift papers to find what you need. 

Aim to use your technology to do things on the computer that were once physically on a desk such as managing your to-do list or tasks on your computer or phone as opposed to Post-It Notes or a notepad. 

While you don’t have to go all-in with minimalism, you can take some of the ideas from it to organize your desk to create a zen workspace.

Remove items you don’t use frequently

This is especially true of the desktop but could apply to drawers and storage too.

People tend to want to keep things like old business cards, charging cables for the phone they had six years ago, and other useless items. Get rid of them. 

You can carry this idea to the top of your desk too. Only keep out items that you are working on that day. Everything else can be stashed away. 

That also means keeping decorative items, like pictures, plaques, and other things, to a minimum.

Image by Chris Lynch on Unsplash

Add to your under desk storage options

Divide the drawers the same way you are going to divide the desktop workspace. 

Things that help you start a project, pens, rulers, folders for papers, go in drawers to the left. 

Things that help you finish a project, like envelopes, stamps, paperclips, go in drawers to the right. 

It’s also good to group items in drawers with organizational caddies so small things like paper clips can be easily found. 

Keep the things that you use frequently closest to your primary workspace so you can reach them quickly.

Use the underside of the L-Shaped desk to mount extension leads and hang headphones

Your workspace on an L-shaped desk could easily become cluttered with electronics, papers, and other things. Start by creating spaces off the desk for things like hard drives, routers, earphones, and other related items. 

You can do this by using space under and around the desk. Mount the router out of sight under the desk. Put a hook on the side of your desk to hang your earphones and tie up wandering cables and electronic wires. 

Think of your desk as a command center or a cockpit. You might just be called upon to do many things at short notice so things must be highly accessible, prepared and it must be easy to transition from task to task.

Final thoughts​

The exact way you set up an L-Shaped desk will depend on your role however, following simple guidelines like throwing out what you don’t use, keeping long-term items stored out of sight, and having a left-to-right workflow will help you get the job done – no matter what the job is.

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