ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Organization Tips for Your Computer Desk

Updated on May 3, 2014
A peek at how my desk is organized.
A peek at how my desk is organized. | Source

The common saying is that it’s better to work smart than to work hard. In a lot of ways that’s true, and getting your life more organized is a good way to do that. Whether you work at home, are a student or are a hobbyist, your home desk is a vital area to keep organized.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that the zone system works best for me. I write, but I also make jewelry, amongst other things, so my desk reflects that.

You’ll need to customize your space to what you do most often. Really think about what you spend most of your time doing at your desk, and organize around that.

Separate Your Desk Into Zones

Orientation on Desk
Active work
Usually centered around keyboard.
Reference, easily accessable tools
Immediately by the work area, either to your dominant side or further back on the desk.
Accessories and pending projects
Within reach, but further than reference. Often on your non-dominant side.
Storage and extra space
Furthest spot from zone one
My laptop, keyboard, mouse and Hubpages notebook.
My laptop, keyboard, mouse and Hubpages notebook. | Source

Zone One: Work Area

The first zone is that in which you do your work. Usually, it’s right around your computer. I regularly keep the following in my first zone:

  • My laptop
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Notebook to take notes in, and later work off of

At the moment, I keep my laptop on a pair of old books that I don’t read anymore, mostly because I haven’t found a riser I like. This is to offer a better way to keep the computer cool, and to save my neck and shoulders a little.

Ergonomics are extremely important to prevent lasting neck, shoulder and wrist problems, like chronic tendinitis.

The chair is also a part of your first zone. It should be comfortable enough to sit in for long period, and allow you to sit up straight.

When sitting down, your thighs should be parallel to the floor. If you can’t lower your chair enough to do this, there are foot rests and risers available to correct the problem.

I also keep separate notebooks for the different projects I have on the go. The one pictured is the one I use for writing hubs.

Because I’m right handed, the notebook is always on the right side of my computer. If you’re left handed and prefer writing notes out manually, your scrap paper or notebook should be on the left side.

The key is to have your work area as comfortable as possible for you. When you don’t have to think about how you need to get at something you’re currently using, you can focus more easily on the task at hand.

The reference and inspirational material which gets used the most often.
The reference and inspirational material which gets used the most often. | Source

Zone Two: Reference

This area is for books or other things that you use regularly, but don’t use every time you work. It should be in plain view and close enough to reach easily, so you can just grab whatever you need, use it, and put it back with minimal effort.

For example, I keep the following in this zone:

  • Extra pens
  • Reference books
  • Quote books
  • Things that spark ideas in my mind and inspire me to keep going
  • Sticky notes for reminders, affirmations and the like

This is also where you would keep things like address books, lists of abbreviations and things like that. This can also take the form of a bookshelf by your desk.

I picked the metal fixture I currently use up at a garage sale quite a few years ago. There are quite a few shelving options available that you can install yourself.

The chest I keep cords in is in my third zone. The notebooks for future projects are propped to the right. The to-do list is right in front of the chest.
The chest I keep cords in is in my third zone. The notebooks for future projects are propped to the right. The to-do list is right in front of the chest. | Source

Zone Three: Accessories and On-Deck Work

I put this zone is on my left, where I don’t often look or need to reach during the course of active work. It works for me, but left-handers would probably do better with this zone on the other side.

My third zone has:

  • Materials for projects on deck (blog notebooks, story binder, etc)
  • To-do list
  • Tissues
  • Desk lamp
  • An entertaining chest for chargers and miscellaneous hook ups for my computer

If you have homework for multiple subjects, this is where you’d organize the work you have for different classes, so you can grab it, finish it and move on.

I look at it as an in box for future tasks.

My zone four. This is where I make jewelry. The drawers are full of materials for that.
My zone four. This is where I make jewelry. The drawers are full of materials for that. | Source

Zone Four: Space and Storage

If you’re lucky enough to have enough room, the zone furthest from your work zone is for storage and open desk space. I bought this desk with jewelry making in mind, so I needed a good area on which to work.

However, this area isn’t necessary for everyone, although it’s very nice to have. If you don’t need a lot of surface area, this space gets cluttered very easily.

Storage always poses a challenge, regardless of what you do. Desk storage can be especially challenging, because you may not always know what you need.

I’ve found a lot of truth that the concept of less being better. Although I have a lot of crystals and nick knacks around, I also have enough space to work in, because I only keep what tools I need on the surface of my desk.

Everything else is tucked away in compact drawers or propped on shelves. It comes down to figuring out what you use most often and keeping that ready to use. Everything else can be stowed.

Most desks come with one or two drawers, which can be convenient, but the temptation is to stow things that don’t belong in them to sort out “later”. In this case, you can actually convert your top drawers to being part of your Zone Two, and the ones further down for either storage or to hold reference materials.

My desk has no drawers, so I opted for clear, plastic drawers found at a local big box store. These work perfectly for me because I could label them easily, and see inside them without opening them first. This cut down on time otherwise spent hunting greatly.

Others have luck with filing cabinets, shelving and other options.

The Basics

When it comes down to organization, the primary things to remember are:

  • What will you do at the desk?
  • What do you need to do the work well?
  • How much space do you use?
  • What’s the easiest way to store things while keeping them organized for you?

It took me quite a while to establish the system I have now, and I expect it to change as my life progresses, but the core elements will remain the same. This will probably hold true for a lot of you, too.

Z-Line Belaire Glass L-Shaped Computer Desk
Z-Line Belaire Glass L-Shaped Computer Desk

This is the desk I currently have. I absolutely love it. Very functional, easy to care for and quite sturdy.

Omnimount TRIA2B Shelf Wall System, Black
Omnimount TRIA2B Shelf Wall System, Black

If you have a corner desk, this type of shelving is an awesome storage option which also saves space.



Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)