You may have heard that a messy workspace is the sign of a creative mind. This might be true, but where’s the line between messy and chaotic? It can be hard to tell. If your desk at work or in your home office is covered in papers and file folders, or fabric and yarn, or paint and brushes, there’s a good chance your productivity and creativity are being negatively impacted. All of this can result in more stress and a negative mindset. The key is figuring out how to corral the clutter so that you can work more efficiently in an environment that energizes you. Let’s explore some ways to do that.
Your desk says a lot about you. This is especially true if you work in an office or other setting with colleagues and customers. You might not have considered the way the piles and mess strewn on your desk create an impression. And what about how you feel when you work there? Physical clutter can impact your concentration, your mood, and your productivity in a negative manner.
When your desk is cluttered, you waste time searching for things you need in order to complete your job. A few minutes of searching here and there add up to hours over a month. Along with this lost productivity comes the stress of not being able to find what you need. It can take a toll on your mental state and even affect your creativity and critical thinking. Visual clutter also zaps your energy. You feel overwhelmed from dealing with the mess on a daily basis. This feeling of being inundated can also take away your motivation, lessening your productivity.
A clean desk makes for a more streamlined workflow, which can energize you. It will boost productivity when you’re able to find what you need and make fewer mistakes. Increased productivity is a catalyst that leads to getting even more done. This type of success feeds on itself. Also, you’ll be projecting a more professional image when your workspace is clean.
Cleaning up the mess will take a concerted effort. Be brutal by getting rid of everything you don’t need. Put necessary papers in their place, such as a clearly labeled filing system. Keep only basic mementos such as family photographs. Avoid placing items on surrounding furniture such as chairs or cabinets. Once you’ve cleared away the clutter, keep it neat by reducing your paper intake. Use email and other electronic methods, such as scanning documents whenever possible. Do a visual sweep of your office area every evening, putting things away and clearing surfaces. Limit your tendency to create piles in the first place by setting up labeled baskets for important papers and things you need to look through later.
Don’t let a messy desk be your undoing. A few simple steps will help keep your workspace tidy and improve your productivity, not to mention improving your mental outlook.