If you're shooting for productivity, the best thing you can do for your brain and your workload is to simplify. When working out the design for a super productive desktop, make sure to keep things you need to address close to your computer. If you're working from paper to screen, keep your paper storage temporary and flexible.
How to set up my desktop
Are you right-handed or left-handed? This matters for two reasons:
1) If you have a second monitor, you want to have it on your dominant hand side because looking up and toward your stronger side is more natural than going the other way, and
2) You want space beside your computer to be used either for tools or for a paper that needs to be processed. Tools such as pens and notepad should automatically sit on the side of your dominant hand.
How do I make my desktop germ free?
First of all, if you can avoid it, try not to eat off of your desktop. If you're starving and you need a break, push back, sanitize your hands, eat a snack, sanitize again, and get back to work. For regular cleanups, keep a tub of sanitizing wipes between you and your purse, briefcase or backpack. Put them in your way so you have to move them to leave. This will remind you to wipe down all the surfaces you regularly touch before you go home.
How can I make my desk less cluttered?
Minimize when possible. Yes, you need pens and pencils. No, you don't need 30 of each. Keep a couple of highlighters, a couple of different-coloured pens, and a few good mechanical pencils in a big, ugly mug. Why the mug? Lightweight, trendy pen and pencil cups will flip if you bump them. Ugly mugs keep their feet. Store a few post-its, flags and stamps in a flat basket that you can easily push out of the way if you need room to lay things out. At the end of the week, study your desktop. If there are items stored on the desktop you didn't touch all week, find them a new home.
What are some accessories for an efficient desk?
Get a bulletin board where you can pin up reminders, ideas and creative boosters. Make sure something on there can help you laugh on the worst days. Contain cables in a clip, so you do not have to chase the ends you need to plug things in. Invest in a file holder that will hold important papers within easy reach. If you're working on a particular project, turn those papers to stand up tall.
To make your desktop work well, and boost your productivity, avoid keeping too much on the desktop. Be vigilant about keeping your files cleared out so you can stash things away and NOT store them on the desktop. Finally, try to clear your desktop for a good wipe down at the end of each day.