Picture your desk. Think of how many hours a week you spend there and how it makes you feel. What’s your choice of decor? Are you organized chaos or a “pile person?” Can you find what you need when you need it, or do you have to move your Lego® toys to get to it? Does it make you feel calm or frustrated?
If your answer is the latter, it might be time to spring clean your workspace. If you browsed through images on Pinterest or Tumblr to find your perfect office setup, I would bet money that they all would have one thing in common: They’re tidy.
You don’t have to be a scientist to know that clutter inhibits productivity and leads to frustration. Whether you’ve never been much of a neat-freak or if you’re just too busy to keep things organized, here are some tips to help you declutter and re-focus on what’s important.
De-Dupe the Duplicates
Unless you’re getting paid to collect pens and post-its, you probably don’t need four green highlighters, three pen cups, two pounds of paper clips, and a partridge in a pear tree. If the zombie apocalypse begins while you’re at work, chances are your office supply stockpile is the last thing you’ll grab. Put all of the extras back into the supply room for someone who needs them (or build an office supply crossbow).
Mess of the Machines
In the physical sense, clutter is the more obvious eyesore compared to virtual disorganization. But, in this digital age, having a messy computer can be just as taxing. If you don’t know what happened to that file you created last week for today’s big meeting, or you frequently have to ask people to re-send emails because you can’t find them, then you’re plagued with what I like to call “digital doom.” How can you cure yourself? Create specific folders for your emails according to topic or sender. Use the same method for organizing files on your hard drive. Check out apps like Dropbox, Evernote, Trello, and reQall to help you get and stay digitally organized.
Knick Knacks, Doodads, and Gizmos
Look around, is your desk overrun with toys and gadgets that would normally be found in a middle school science room? Trust me, I know these things can be a fun distraction when you’re feeling whimsical and some may even hold sentimental value. If you really can’t bring yourself to make a clean sweep, try this:
- Grab a cardboard box (or two if things are really out-of-hand), and write today’s date on it.
- Put everything that isn’t a desk necessity in the box. This should be one quick step, you will instantly see and feel the reward of having a clean workspace.
- Keep the box near your desk and only take things out as you need them.
- After 6 weeks, get rid of it. Sell what you can, donate what you should, and take home the things you just can’t bear to part with.
Still Need Some Organizational Inspiration?
Check out these popular reads by some of most organized minds out there:
- The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta
- Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals by Brian Tracy