A recent study found that a messy desk may be the sign of genius.
While that may be true for some, I still hold to the old notion that a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind.
At the very least, time spent looking for something you need in your office is time that could have been used so much more productively. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, multiple times a day, every work day…it all adds up. And what it adds up to isn’t pretty.
Wasting time searching for misplaced items:
- Causes frustration and adds stress
- Reduces concentration and creative thinking
- May result in negative impressions that could affect promotions
In other words, your workplace clutter nay not only be killing your productivity, it may be harming your health and career prospects, as well.
Trying to change habits of a lifetime is no easy matter. And just one glance at the clutter spreading across your desk and around your office can be intimidating to the point of paralyzation. Not to worry, though. We can tell you exactly how to best turn your office back into a clutter-free model of efficiency.
Identify the Problem Areas, Then Find Their Solutions
Before you do anything at all, take a good long look at where your clutter is building up. Make notes, take photos, then spend some time searching online for solutions. You can start with:
- Attractive storage containers – Everything should have its own place, and that is often a simple matter of acquiring new containers. Organizing things in boxes is all well and good, but it will be nice to do so using storage solutions that look professional. Sharp looking desk accessories can work wonders, as well.
- Cable Management – A cluster of cables is very messy looking, and there is no longer any reason to tolerate that in your office. There are any number cable organization products – from individually labeled ones to large tubes that you can just shove them into. Pick one.
- More Shelves – Whether you want warm toned wooden bookcases or modern industrial wire shelves, extra shelf space can be a lifesaver. Measure empty wall space, or even consider moving your furniture around.
Once you’ve accumulated everything you need, and decided where everything will go, bring it all to your office on one of your days off. Allow yourself a full day, because it may take longer than you expect it to. You may even have to take everything out, in order to put it all back in more efficient places. Once you have everything neatly stored away, it’s time to determine how best to keep it that way.
Solve the Behavioral Problems
It may not be as difficult as you imagine to keep your workplace clutter at a minimum. A few tips that simply may not have occurred to you may be all that is necessary. You can search online for those, as well, but here are a few to get you started.
- Use a physical inbox – You can even prioritize it so that you deal with the most important paperwork first. It will help to keep your desk neat, but don’t let it get overfull!
- Keep a trash can handy – The fastest and easiest part of de-cluttering is simply throwing stuff out. It is absolutely necessary to have a trash can within arm’s reach, even if it’s a tiny one under your desk.
- Scan and Photograph – Scan any paperwork you don’t need the originals for and back them up in the cloud. Photograph information on ink cartridges or other items that can’t be scanned, also mementos that you want to remember but don’t need to give space to.
- End the day right – Allow yourself a few minutes at the end of every workday to put everything back where it belongs. Bonus points for creating the next day’s to-do list and gathering what you’ll need to start in the morning.
Decluttering may take some time, but if you take it step by step, it probably won’t be as hard as you fear. And it will be well worth the effort when you see your productivity start to skyrocket.