When your environment if filled with clutter, you may feel like you’re constantly reacting rather than responding. You may feel a general sense of unease or anxiety. You may feel mentally exhausted even though you haven’t yet started your work day.
Are you constantly searching for client files, notes, or even something to write with?
Is it a nightmare to find a file on your hard drive or cloud structure because you lack an organizational structure and/or an effective file-naming convention?
Do you have a dozen tabs open on your computer at any one time? Yes, that’s a form of clutter, too.
Are there stacks of books, papers, or even coffee cups or dishes sitting on your desk?
Are your file drawers crammed with paperwork that’s no longer needed and which belongs in the trash can?
Of course it’s hard to focus or get anything done. And, even if you do accomplish anything, you’re probably not feeling your best when you work under chaotic circumstances.
Across the board, clutter is often fueling these uneasy feelings and your lack of productivity. It has a way of sucking the life out of you, distracting you from what’s most important, and derailing your success.
5 Tips to Clear Clutter in Your Work Space
You can’t increase your productivity by reading a book or taking a class. You actually need to take action. The first thing you need to do is to “set the stage.” Nothing’s going to happen until you do. Setting the stage is all about taking action to clear the clutter. After that’s done, you’ll start to see the effects — increased productivity.
Let’s focus on some basic components of your work environment. A cluttered and messy office is no place to expect your best work. And, while some people believe that’s where they get their best work done, imagine what they could accomplish if working in a completely upgraded environment! Here are some simple tips for helping you to create a foundation for success.
Tip #1: Put away everything that belongs in your desk drawers or file cabinet. If you find things that don’t belong in your office, then take them to wherever they belong and put them away. If you find things that have “no home” right now, put them in a box that has a lid so you won’t need to look at them. Remember the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.” In this case, that’s a good thing! 🙂 Bonus tip: discard anything that you haven’t used in the past year. Odds are you never will.
Tip #2: Clear everything from the top of your desk and wipe it down. Prior to placing things back on your desktop, evaluate each item to make sure you actually need it in front of you. If not, then put it away or throw it away. Reduce visual distractions as much as possible. Bonus tip: Wipe down your desk phone and/or smartphone. They’re a haven for germs.
Tip #3: Gather all your Post-It notes and scraps of paper. Review them and discard what you can. If any of them can be handled soon, schedule a time in your planner and get them done during a focused work session. For the remainder, type them into a digital document for safekeeping. Bonus tip: If they include items you need to reference, keep the one page document easily accessible on your desktop or stored in a top desk drawer.
Tip #4: If you have boxes or stacks of things on your office floor, go through them and discard everything you can. Again, if you haven’t used something in the past year, discard it or give it away. Discarding is the better choice so that it can be recycled. Bonus tip: Go through your bookcase and get rid of any books you also own digitally. Box up any others that are old and outdated and either give them to the library or recycle them.
Tip #5 Technology produces its own brand of clutter. Close down any tabs that you have open on your computer except for those that apply to your current work. Log out of social media accounts as well as your email. Make a habit of working with minimal tabs open on your screen. Bonus tip: Turn off any gadgets except the ones you need to do your core work tasks. You’ll get more done faster and easier without added distractions.
By implementing these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to clearing the clutter in your office and reducing distraction. You’ll love the result. You’ll be more energized, less anxious, and more focused on your work. Investing a little bit of time today to prepare your work environment will make a noticeable difference in your productivity!