Let’s face it, as executive and administrative assistants, we never seem to have enough space in our desk to keep everything we need. Space always seems to be at a minimum. It’s hard to keep everything we need handy and still keep our desks looking neat and organized.
So what exactly do we need to keep either on our desk or in a handy drawer? Here’s a list of things I consider important to have easily available:
- Stapler and staples – Do yourself a favor and get a decent stapler. Also, make sure you’re using the right staples for your stapler and that you’re using good quality staples. Good staples cost marginally more than bad ones, and you will probably end up saving money by not having to restaple your papers 5 times before the staple actually punctures the paper.
- Tape – While you might not need tape every day, when you need it, you usually need it immediately. So keep your tape dispenser handy.
- Ruler – Rulers are handy for so many things: as a straight edge for drawing lines, as a guide for data entry, even for actually measuring things. It may not need to go on your desk, but you need to have it handy.
- Tablet or Notebook – I live or die by my notebook. I always have one handy to make notes and write things down so I don’t forget.
- 3-Hole Punch – Again, get a decent 3-hole punch, one that can punch more than 2 or 3 sheets at a time. Remember, the punches get dull after a while, so if the punches aren’t replaceable, get a whole new unit when it stops punching cleanly.
- Pens and pencils – Keep a variety of pens in different colors available. Red is great for proofreading, blue is important for signing contracts, and black is just your basic utilitarian pen. Whether you keep them in a holder on your desk or in a drawer is up to you.
- Highlighters – Again, keep a variety of colors handy. It’s helpful when analyzing data to be able to color code with highlighters.
- Post-it Notes – Have a variety of sizes for different uses.
- Post-it flags – Especially keep the “Sign Here” ones handy, but some plain ones in 2 or 3 colors are good to have as well.
- Dictionary – Granted, you can look things up on-line these days, but when you need to prove your point to the boss, having the dictionary right there is handy.
- Reference Manuals – Style guides, letter writing guides, industry references, whatever you need for the job you’re in.
- File folders – I like plain manila folders myself, but some people like to use colored folders. I usually use colored folders for the ones I keep for the boss, i.e. “read this”, “sign this”, and “urgent-look at this immediately” type folders.
- Calendar – Yes, I know, we have Outlook on our computers, but I don’t want to switch programs every time I need to look at a date.
- Scissors – We always need to cut something.
- Sewing Kit – Just one of those little travel sewing kits is great to have in your desk. You never know when the boss’s hem will come unsewed or a button pop off of his shirt. Always make sure the boss looks good when he leaves the office.
These are the things I consider to be the bare minimum of equipment I keep in or on my desk. Everyone is different though. What do you consider is absolutely necessary to have at your desk? Leave a comment and let us know.