A cluttered desk can be a sign of a messy life. It’s true; Harvard Business Review says, “We lose precious work minutes every time we go searching for a lost paper on a cluttered desk.” Clutter wastes time and takes focus away from what’s important. This chaos adds stress and may make you less productive. If you’re getting distracted by all the clutter, this blog will share tips for reorganizing your life and starting each day on the right foot.
What’s Wrong with Clutter?
Your work environment matters. Research shows that our physical work environments affect how we think, our emotions, and even behaviors related to relationships and decision-making. One Harvard researcher says, “Cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels, as well as our ability to focus, our eating choices, and even our sleep.” It turns out our brains like order. Constant disorganization drains our cognitive battery, and when you declutter your workspace it’s like plugging back in for a recharge. This is true, especially when you work remotely. Studies show a cluttered home triggers procrastination and avoidance, which of course, affects our production. What can you do to change your workspace? It turns out that simply tidying up at the end of each workday can help you create a more productive and happy work environment the following day.
How to Declutter Your Workspace
The positive news is that, in a digital era, most of us hopefully have less paper lying around. Decluttering your workspace, however, can start with these steps:
- Remove everything from your workspace. Pile it in orderly piles. Give everything a good cleaning. As you clean, think about those piles.
- Sort items. A simple sort for “keep,” “discard,” “donate,” and “relocate” should do it.
- Get rid of things you don’t need. Be brutal and discard anything you don’t need or want. Donate or discard anything that isn’t needed for the job.
- Organize the “keep” pile. Set up new categories, such as “file,” “supplies,” and “personal.” Create a designated space for anything you’re keeping that isn’t on your desk. Do you have a closet you can clean out and reorganize? Can you add an under-the-desk filing cabinet?
- Develop a system for maintaining your workspace. Once you’ve decluttered, develop a system to maintain this. One great suggestion is to stop work 15 minutes before the end of the day and reorganize your desk. Make your to-do list for the next day. Clean up the dirty coffee mugs. Take out the trash. Do all these things, so you come into a fresh, uncluttered desk each morning.
Sometimes, decluttering also means getting rid of a job that’s no longer a fit. Talk to Blackstone Talent Group about how we can help you change your life with a fresh start.