5 Things To Do and NOT Do At Your Desk

Desk Ronn Torossian

5 Things To Do At Your Desk

If you routinely work at a desk, there are a few things you should be doing all the time, if you aren’t doing them already, or if it has been a while since you last did them, consider these things.


Take a few minutes at the beginning (or ending) of the day to prioritize what needs to be done during your working day. Once you’ve made those decisions, then decide how much time you will spend on each project, make a note of it, and do your best to keep to the schedule you’ve set. Break down tasks that must get done that day, so you know when it is okay to move to the next project on the list.


Get rid of all the trash on your desk. Start with the actual trash, empty food or beverage containers and stuff you’ve long since completed. Clear that stuff away NOW. Next, look at all the loose papers on your desk. Notes and such. If they contain important information, get it where is should be. So contact information needs to go on your contact list on your phone or computer. Lists of things that need to be done should be reviewed, crossed through, and re-evaluated. Even if you thrive in a more chaotic situation, clear the extraneous stuff off your desk. As a celebration of doing this, dust it and what remains off while you’ve got a more open space.

You should also get rid of anything that you’ve been saving until you can get to it, and it’s been hanging around for more than six months. At that point, you probably won’t get to it ever.

Start Scanning

Personal scanners are great for organization. Consider scanning your receipts for tax or business purposes. Once you’ve scanned them, and sent them to the correct file, voila’ you don’t have to think about them until you do your taxes or business reporting next. The only time you would need to keep receipts would be if they are necessary when you submit them for reimbursement. For those, keep a file folder handy in your desk that you can quickly slip them into as soon as you get to your desk with one.

Get a Digital Photo Frame

Of course, you want to keep some photos of family, friends, vacations, and more. But you can keep them all in just one frame with one of these gadgets. This allows you to see what you need to when you need it. Sometimes you might need a 30-second vacation, and in those moments, you just pick up your digital frame and move through the pics until you see ones that help take you away from the office for a few refreshing, distressing moments.


You don’t have to leave your desk to work your muscles. Take 5-10 minutes every couple of hours to stretch your muscles, focus on something farther away, tone and tighten muscles as you sit, or even just get up and pace for a few minutes. It will refresh you and help you get through the rest of the day still alert and effective.

5 Things To Avoid Doing At Your Desk

Most of this should be common sense, but sometimes we develop bad habits and sitting at our desk or in our office may seem like it’s okay to do these things, especially if you can close the door … but it’s not.

Personal Grooming

No, it’s not okay unless you want to become the butt of office jokes and lose most of your professional acceptance among your peers. That means no filing a snag on your nails, brushing your hair (or teeth), shaving, flossing, tweezing, or otherwise. It’s not that you can’t do them during work time, just take the tools to the restroom and do them there. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it in front of your boss or your best client, keep it away from the desk.

Shopping Online

With the exception of buying items for the office that will be paid for by the business, steer clear of shopping. Part of this is the time it takes. It seems like it will only take a few minutes and you can easily slip it in between tasks, but invariably shopping online leads to a quick check of social media accounts, winking at the person who has your interest, or flirting … all forms of shopping online to some extent. Before you know it, an hour has passed, and you don’t have enough time to fully prepare for that vital meeting. It’s a bad habit, and if you’ve been doing it, it’s time to break that habit completely.

Making Noise

That especially includes talking too loud, in code, or whispering. Any talking that doesn’t blend in with the rest of the chatter happening in the office is inappropriate. Doing so draws attention to the wrong things about you as a worker. This also includes inappropriate conversations in person or over the phone. If the conversation is personal make sure it is an unusual situation rather than the norm. Keep your private life away from the office, and don’t gossip about others, whether co-workers or not.

Filling the Office with Germs

It’s not noble to work when you can make everyone else sick, or when you disrupt the usual flow. Coughing or sneezing non-stop, even if it’s “just allergies,” makes it sound like everyone is in the sick ward instead of working hard. Sure you need to get things done, but consider how much of a problem it presents to the people you work with. If you get sick while at the office, consider packing up several projects you can work on at home, quickly reschedule any appointments, and get the heck out the front door.

Blue Language

That’s an old-fashioned term for swearing and using crude language. If you work in an office or have a desk, that language is not appropriate. Worse still, in the current social environment, it could be considered sexual harassment, and you’ll possibly find yourself without a job now and maybe well into the future. Keep your cursing for someplace other than the office.

What’s your nightmare of something you have seen in the office?

Ronn Torossian is the CEO  and founder of 5W Public Relations.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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