HEY, is that you behind that monstrous assortment of stuff cluttering your desk? Most people don't even realise it, but a disorganised office can cause tremendous frustration and lost productivity that can mean staying late at work. Fact is, a messy desk makes it extremely difficult to go about your daily routine.

Some of us have piles of papers, others have knick-knacks, toys, photographs - you name it! Whatever that stuff is that's making your desk look like a tornado just came through your office, you can sort through it and find a place for it. Then, you can actually use your desk for its true purpose - work!

Here are some practical suggestions for avoiding a disorganised office:

1. File immediately

Avoid pile-ups! It can be difficult to keep up with your filing when you get really busy, or when people keep leaving documents on your desk or chair, but to keep your desk neat and orderly, it's imperative that you don't allow paperwork to grow into unmanageable stacks.

2. Get it off your desk

The tops of credenzas and lateral file cabinets can be found in almost every office. They provide space where you can store such things as binders and catalogues, rather than letting them clutter your desktop.

3. Utilise shelves

This is another smart location for storing things that might otherwise cause confusion by taking up space on your desk. A shelf, not your desk, is the proper place for items such as phone books, magazines, CDs, pictures and videos.

4. Create drop spots

Perhaps you can put up a basket designed to hang on your wall, or some other kind of receptacle to temporarily drop memos, notes and other small papers.

This is a good way to keep those easy-to-lose documents off your desk until you have time to look at them.

5. Try not to get too personal

Minimise the urge to clutter your desk with an excessive amount of personal items, such as photographs and knick-knacks. Of course, it's great to have some of these in your workspace; just make sure your desk is not covered with them.

6. Accessorise

Office organisers, such as file sorters with different compartments, and plastic bins that can hold almost anything are ideal for storing a wide array of office materials that might instead accumulate on your desk. Use these accessories for things such as folders, letters and documents.

Once you have cleaned up the clutter, you can work faster and better.