This guest post from the co-founder of Credit Card Compare points out the financial benefits to decluttering your workspace – and also explains how to do it.
Who doesn’t like a clean, uncluttered workspace? Not only does a neat work area look professional, it can yield financial benefits you may not have thought about.
You can increase your profits
A messy work area contributes to higher levels of stress and lower levels of productivity. Cleaning up an untidy workstation has many benefits, including increasing your energy levels and an ability to think more clearly. Having a stress-free work area also helps you stay motivated, allows you to do your job more efficiently and boosts creativity. A more productive work environment allows you to concentrate on your work and thus increase your profits.
You’ll be more efficient
Less time spent searching for misplaced files, papers and other items is more time devoted to making money.
You could lower your tax bill
If you can’t find receipts and paperwork, you may miss out on money-saving deductions on your taxes.
You can avoid duplicate purchases
By knowing what you have on hand, you avoid buying supplies and items you already have.
You can get paid more promptly
By having a streamlined system, you can ensure you are billing all your clients and getting paid in a timely fashion. Also, keeping your documents and paperwork organized will save you time when preparing that tax return.
How to declutter your workspace
So now you’ve got the motivation to declutter your workspace. But some things are easier said than done. Just how do you do it?
Do it in one fell swoop
Remove everything from your work area. Clean and dust it thoroughly. Then only place items back in your area that you will use on a daily basis, or that relate to current projects. Be ruthless. Keep only the bare essentials on hand.
Or take it in small steps
If cleaning everything at once is overwhelming or you don’t have the time, you can do it in smaller steps. Set a timer and spend 15 minutes (or even just five minutes) dealing with the clutter. For every piece of paper, make a decision – throw away anything you don’t absolutely need, file papers that need it or take the appropriate action. But set a time limit. Do this once or twice a day and you will see progress and feel encouraged in no time.
Set a schedule to regularly maintain and/or declutter before the paper monster grows too large again. Taking five minutes at the end or beginning of your day will go a long way toward keeping your workspace tidy.
Schedule your work time
Keep your business separate from your personal time. When working from a home office, the lines between business and personal blur easily. Have a schedule and stick to it. When you are on work hours, focus on work. When you are not officially working, devote yourself to play and other household duties. Keep yourself focused on one thing at a time. Don’t divide your loyalties. You’ll be more productive at all of it.
Set up a workable filing system
Find a system that’s easy and one you can live with. If it’s too complicated, it won’t work. Do this with both your paper files and computer files. For example, you could have a “Current Projects” file, a “To Read” file and an “Archive” file. Tailor it to suit your needs. As paper comes in, put it in the appropriate file and keep the clutter off your desk. If you have trouble deciding what to do with a few things, make a “Not Sure” file. Check this one periodically (every six months or so) and toss anything you haven’t used.
With minimal time and effort, you can keep a clean, clutter-free workplace and increase your productivity, profits and success in your business.
David is co-founder of Credit Card Compare, an online credit card comparison website for Australians looking to review and compare the top credit cards currently available. Check out his mammoth guide to freelance finances or follow him @TheCreditLetter on Twitter for more like this.