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Time management - Desktop management

Desktop management

Where ever your workspace happens to be keep it clear. You should have a well ordered environment to tackle each task one at a time.


Make sure that you have all the materials to hand to complete any tasks, for example, paper clips, pens, stapler etc. If you find that during the processing of your tasks you use others add them for future use.
It’s important to have pens and a notebook. These are extremely useful for writing down everything that you have to do. This is very important and can save you a lot of time and possibly some embarrassment. It is not unusual for two or more requests to come along rapidly so write it down before you forget.
If you have any master lists (that is grand ‘to-do’ lists) transfer them to these as well.

You will also need other items that are more likely to sit on the desktop, for example, a computer, telephone, lamp etc.


  • Is your desk in the right place? Is it facing the door or the window? A desk facing the door tends to encourage more interruptions.
  • Is it the right size for your needs?
  • Is it close to a power socket to reduce the amount of cabling.
  • Is you chair comfortable?
  • Is your desk at the correct height?
  • Shelving OK?
  • Bulletin boards etc.
  • Personal items, for example, a photograph.


If you can remove particular physical files which are taking up space and convert them to a computerised data base then consider it.
For example, many people collect ‘business cards’. These end up in a pile on the end of a desk, in a draw, in folder or in a roladex system on the desk.

Why not put them in a purpose built data base in Excel? This will take a little time to set up but it will be worth it. The data base will be easy to search, sort, print out, filter etc. You should consider every piece of information source you have around you for possible conversion to a computer data base.

Alternatively, you may wish to research other electronic organisers which can store address and contact information as well as other data, notes, calendar, diary etc.

If you have the luxury of an assistant they can do this and provide the files as read only access if necessary.

If you have a number of files that you access regularly then create ‘shortcuts’ on you computer desktop to speed up access.

Make sure that you back up all of your critical files on a regular basis and carry out security checks, for example.

  • Files.
  • Favourites
  • Email messages, rules, address books etc
  • Carry out virus scans.
  • Carry out scans for spyware and adware.
  • Software.

Back up to external files and keep one copy local and remote.

If you have a variety of bills to pay why not use on-line banking and make it easier.
It can save a lot of time.
This is of course a personal preference and many have fears of on-line transactions.

The use of mobile PDA’s may help you and can be useful for anything that you want to have with you all the time.
You will need to review individual features.

Computer training

If you want to manage information going over your desktop or though your home more efficiently you will have to improve your computer skills. Adequate software skills can improve speed in many areas.
Taking notes, writing reports, email management etc.

Make sure you fully explore the capabilities of the software that you have before purchasing other dedicated software.


Keep it clear. Don’t let the in-tray fill up and spill over. A clear in-tray at the end of the day is a sign of good organisation and impresses on others that you are efficient.
A clear in-tray and desktop will give you a positive boost when tackling the next job.

Non - PRINCE2 information