You may not spend much time thinking about your workspace, but how it looks and feels really matters. A clean and well-organised desk can boost your mood and productivity.
A cluttered workspace, on the other hand, has multiple negative impacts. According to organisational experts, the average person loses one hour a day to disorganisation. And cluttered spaces inevitably lead to greater stress and lower productivity.
In addition, a messy desk can reflect poorly on you. In one survey, 86% of people said that disorganised workspaces were unprofessional. Almost as many claimed that one employee’s clutter could damage the productivity of the entire office.
So what’s the secret to creating and maintaining a clean workspace? Here’s what experts suggest:
- Wipe down your workspace once a week. Use a disinfecting spray or wipe to clean your desk. Get rid of the dust, crumbs, and fingerprints. Not only is this more sanitary, but it will also make you feel a lot better when working.
- Limit the number of items on your desk. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your brain is processing everything you see in front of you. The more unnecessary items on your desk, the less focused you will be. Organizational experts recommend keeping only office supplies that you use every day on top of your desk; if you use something less frequently, put it away in a drawer. As for personal items like photos or souvenirs, it’s best to limit these to three or fewer. Otherwise, you are providing too many distractions for yourself.
- Use folders as much as possible. The average employee spends up to 38 hours a year shuffling through papers or looking for misplaced items. To save yourself all that wasted time, keep your documents organised in folders. (This goes for digital files and folders too!) The folders that you reference most regularly can be placed on your desk; the rest should be filed away in a drawer or cabinet, or scanned into digital form.
- Turn Clutter into Action Items. A useful way to declutter is to turn each piece of paper into an action item in your planner. For example, if you have a stack of business cards that you picked up at a networking event, rather than leave them lying around, convert them into action items on your list or schedule them in as calls in your calendar.
- Manage your electronics. If you have a smart phone, smart watch, or other device that you don’t regularly use for work, store it in a drawer or other place where it won’t constantly interrupt you. And, as much as possible, keep any wires, cords, and charging cables in a discreet place so they’re not crowding your desk.
- Keep a document-sized space clear on your desk. This gives you a ready-made place to review important papers or other items. Once you’re done with it, make sure you’re truly done with it—file it away, mail it, or give it to a colleague who needs it. Then you’ll have that clear space available again for the next vital document that comes your way.
Keeping your desk tidy requires intentionality but, fortunately, not much time. Having an organized and clutter-free workspace can supercharge your day, giving you room to complete more tasks and feel inspired. So get organizing!