If you're not naturally an organized individual, you may struggle with basic organization. Organization tips and tricks are designed to make organizing easier, but most of the time you're pretty sure they're just making your life more difficult. Sure, it's nice to be able to lay your hands on any item or paper you need without having to dig through a mess to find it, but you waste more time trying to get things back in their neat locations than you would looking for them! If you're disorganized and scattered by nature, you might need a different organization strategy.
You don't really need 30 different pens in your desk, do you? What about your highlighter collection - do you actually use three different colors of highlighters to represent three different things, or do you grab whichever one you can manage to find? When you're naturally disorganized, every bit of clutter is one more potential pitfall. Instead, keep your clutter to a minimum by regularly removing things that you don't need from your desk and your office. Even your decor should be minimal to help decrease the clutter throughout the room. Chances are, if your desk is usually covered in papers and other important items, no one can see it anyway.
Take ten minutes to clean up at the end of every day
This isn't time to sweat over the details, but it is enough time to sweep off your collection of take-out cups, put important papers where you'll be able to find them tomorrow, and get rid of some of the debris/dust that's collected on your desk throughout the day. You don't have to have a perfect place for everything, you just have to do a little basic organization so that you won't feel overwhelmed when you get to work the next day. Limiting it to 10 minutes also makes it easier for you to power on through it instead of dreading the time spent on organization every day.
There are some things that can be as messy as they like, and no one really cares. There are other things that need to be neat and tidy, or at least where you can find them again later. The last thing you need is a giant coffee stain on an important contract that you need to produce at a meeting in a couple of days. Make it a priority to organize truly important things as soon as possible, and don't worry too much about the rest. Chances are excellent that you aren't actually as disorganized as most people think, you just have a system that's different than everyone else's.
Use virtual storage when possible
There's a lot of paper that goes across your desk throughout the course of a day. To reduce some of that paper, try using virtual storage for as many important reports, contracts, and communications as possible. It's much easier to search for an email than it is to find a memo in the pile of papers on your desk. Likewise, a virtual document will always be exactly where you store it, and you can make your computer do the searching for you if you forget where you put a file. In fact, virtual organization should be a priority in your life, especially if you're naturally disorganized. Develop a better virtual filing system than simply saving important files to your desktop and you'll always be able to go straight to the documents that you need most.
Organization is different for each individual. For the naturally disorganized worker, keeping a neat, tidy office might feel like the most stressful part of the day, but it doesn't have to be. By reducing clutter, prioritizing the truly important stuff, and using virtual storage whenever possible, you can create an office that looks like it's in great shape without spending your entire day stressing over where that piece of paper in your hand is supposed to go.