Ten ways to organize your workspace for a more productive you
Let's face it — when your workspace is cluttered, you feel unproductive and unmotivated. There's just too much stimulation around you to distract and disturb your concentration. Even if it's not about distraction, you still need a clean desk to save space and know where everything is.
So, whether you organize to relieve stress or to procrastinate other tasks, make sure you find the time within the day to clean up your workspace. Here are ten things you can do right now to organize your desk for a more productive day.
1. Maintain a permanent layout
According to Gotham Organizers, your monitor should be at eye-level and about 17 inches in front of you. You can really do this however you want but make sure your computer and frequently used items are in the same place on your desk everyday.
I put my laptop diagonally to the left of my desk and my agenda to the right — it's not the most efficient way but the layout works for me.
2. De-clutter useless things from your desk
Throw away anything that doesn't help you with productivity. Make a list of all the items on your desk and categorize them by importance. Trinkets from last Christmas? Stuffed animals from your bed? Throw them out or put them away.
It's alright to have one or two personal items like a framed picture or flowers, but too many objects will distract and overstimulate.
3. Store your supplies
Keep office supplies together either on top of your desk or in a drawer. Things you need everyday should go on top of your desk — preferably in a supplies organizer. Objects you don't need everyday can go in a drawer — maybe even in a drawer organizer.
4. Free up some free space
Not every inch of your desk needs to be covered — leave a sizeable amount of room for short term projects or important documents. This way, you won't be struggling to clear space every time a new item is introduced to your desk.
5. Organize storage containers with colors and labels
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Desk storage bins can be super helpful in organizing your life — just be sure to color code and label them as you see fit. You don't want to be rummaging around all your containers every time you need some blank paper.
Taking time to color code and label can also be a destressing and relaxing task — have fun with cute colors and shapes.
6. Prioritize your tasks
Having to deal with a lot of projects at once can overwhelm and stress you out. Use file holders to prioritize everyday tasks — have a section for urgent, important and non-urgent. This way, you can just pluck a task off the top and work your way to the bottom.
7. Divide your workspace
Does technology distract you? Do you often eat at one of your workspaces? Performing a leisurely task frequently in the same spot can lead to habits and association of that task with the corresponding space. That's why I can never work on my bed like most of my friends.
Instead, separate out your workspace. Designate one area as a technology-free zone or remember to never watch Netflix at your desk. Doing this will provide you with a sense of routine and stability.
8. Don't forget your virtual workspace
Your laptop can also be a source of distraction — organizing your virtual workspace will make you more motivated and less overwhelmed. Trash items on your desktop that you don't need. Delete old and useless files from your folders. Categorize work into different folders and utilize reminders and calendars to organize your life.
9. Put a small trash can near your workspace
A separate trash and recycling bin would work best, but beggars can't be choosers. Place a small wastebasket next to your desk — you won't have to get up every time to throw scrap paper away which can disrupt your workflow.
10. Organize your cables
I use cable clips to keep my chargers and wires in order. This can be very useful, especially if you have an extension cord under your desk. Wires are just prone to becoming tangled up with one another so you don't want to always be undoing them.
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Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!