1. Of course, in the #1 position — the Inbox. Mine needs to be emptied, as you can see. I throw everything in here that needs to be dealt with, including my digital camera when I need to download photos from it. I empty this every 24-48 hours (usually every 24, but sometimes you gotta cut yourself some slack).
2. The bucket of fun. Not really, just a bucket of cords that I need within easy reach. Like, my iPhone cord, camera cord and an assortment of headphones. I like these in easy reach, not in a drawer or overhead shelf.
3. My traveling pouch. This goes to work and home again and contains whatever folders I need with me on the go. Usually includes Action Support, Read-Review and a portable In folder. The pouch fits into my laptop bag and helps ensure that my folders don’t get too mangled when going back-and-forth.
4. Books. I’m one of those people that is usually reading a number of books at a time. In this stack, I’ve got one in-progress book, two recent Amazon arrivals and the latest issue of Wired.
5. Overhead storage. On the left, there are a variety of office supplies (envelopes, DVDs, file folders, stapler) and on the right, reference materials like 3-ring binders and cookbooks (our kitchen is right next to the office, so it’s quite handy for both meal planning and for easy access when getting ready to actually cook something).
6. Files at-hand. In the desktop file riser, I keep a folder for Bills to Pay (which get paid and then filed once a week), and other active project materials (house projects, party planning). I also keep a folder here for Gift Cards & Coupons — so before we leave the house for errands I can check that folder to see if we’ve got gift cards or coupons we need to use.
7. External hard drive. You have got to back up your files, y’all! I speak from experience.
8. Tickler file. I snorked this idea from Andy Reed. Previously, I used my desktop file riser for my Tickler folders, but it was a bit cumbersome. This improvement may seem small, but there can often be a noticeable effect on your own mental state when you can remove tiny annoyances from your day. It’s like oiling a squeaky door in your mind.
9. Shared Reference Files. You are looking at half of a U-shaped workspace. The other half belongs to my husband (you’ll see his side on another blog post I’m cooking up. The working title is: “How to Stay Sane — and Married — When You’re the Only Person In Your House Doing GTD.”). The dividing line between our desks is our printer; below that, we keep a two-drawer file cabinet for all our shared folders (receipts, taxes, etc.).
10. Personal Reference Files. This is reference material that’s all mine, and mostly my own personal stuff. All of my work-related reference materials are in the file cabinets at my work office.
And yes, that IS a white picket fence out my window. It’s not mine — it’s my neighbors’ — but it’s awfully picturesque, isn’t it?