Does your desk look like this?
Or more like this?
It’s very easy to acquire clutter around your work environment and it doesn’t take long before you get totally used to it looking like that. You simply don’t see the mess any more. But if you want to be more productive, you need to work in a clutter-free space.
Here’s my take on why there is a great deal of truth in that saying: “A tidy desk is a tidy mind”.
- If you’ve got stuff strewn all over the place, how on earth do you find anything? And it’s very time consuming rummaging about looking for things. Follow the adage “A place for everything and everything in its place”.
- The state of your workspace is a reflection of you. So, if your office is clean, neat and tidy then that effect will rub off on you. You just can’t work effectively if your desk is in a state of chaos. You only have to look at that top photo to see why,
- A dusty, grubby working environment that’s also got grimy windows is not a pleasant place to spend lots of time in.
I say all this because, for ages, my office was Clutter Central. Really. I’d just become used to it. Now that I’m in a tidy zone, I just feel much more organised and efficient.
It was a daunting task to declutter, which is why I put it off for so long. I decided to do it over the course of a couple of weeks. That way, I could manage it. So here’s a plan of action for you if your work environment is in need of a spring clean and a declutter.
1. Get several bin bags and chuck out any old papers, files, magazines etc that you know you will not look at again. Be ruthless. Do you really need to keep stuff from a project that you finished two years ago? Do you need hard copies of information that is stored on your computer?
2. Take everything off your noticeboard and just leave the two or three most important things. For me, it’s my vision board, my timesheet and my payment spreadsheet that shows which clients have/haven’t paid me. Here’s the before and after of my noticeboard.
3. Take all your books off the shelves. Put aside any you no longer need and take them to your local charity shop or sell them second hand online. Dust the ones you want to keep and return them to your shelves.
4. Take a good look at any other shelves you may have. Which items are just sitting there that you never use? Do you really need three rulers or five rolls of tape out on display? Get a shelf tidy and organise all your bits and pieces like your pens, paper clips etc. Here’s the one I have.
5. Take everything off the walls and wipe the walls down. Put back only the most essential items. Loads of wall clutter isn’t necessary. Enjoy having clear space.
6. Clean the windows and hoover the floor.
7. Clean and dust all surfaces. IT equipment can’t work to optimum efficiency if it’s all clogged up with dust. Use a soft (clean) paintbrush for your keyboard.
8. You made it! Now you can enjoy working in a tidy and ordered office. However, it won’t magically stay like that. Step 8 is the step you need to do regularly to keep the clutter at bay.
What difference did it make to your working life when you decluttered?