Whether you have a tiny cubicle, a large desk, or a share in an office row, clutter can find its way to your workspace. You’ll be amazed by your capacity to mess up even the smallest and most linear working space, not to mention your desktop if nothing else comes in handy.
However, clutter does have a huge impact on your focus and concentration. Not to mention the time and energy you spend looking for a pen or a blank piece of paper or scribbled notes which should’ve been right under your nose.
Here are some tips to keep your workspace clutter-free:
- Keep wires and technology out of your (and harm’s) way
Tape wires together and make sure they’re mostly out of your desk. Keep your hard drives in a drawer if you’re not using them regularly, and remove old earphones, charging stations or any other technological flotsam you’ve collected over the years.
Unlikely though it might seem, there’s still paperwork out there, and it does tend to pile up. Forms you need to fill out, printouts you planned to read through – and the best way to deal with it is to separate it. Even if you make very basic divisions like research papers, things to fill out and things to sign – it really does help.
- Discard whatever’s no longer useful
Numerous drafts of completed projects, scribbles made during meetings held one year ago – there are a lot of things you probably don’t need which tend to crowd your desk. Discard them, and if they’re cluttering your laptop as well, archive them.
- Practice being (relatively) organised
Even if it’s simple things, like putting away your coffee cup after you’re done with it, or clearing out the day’s mess from your desk in the evening, a regular practice of cleanliness makes a huge difference to your own sense of stress and that lingering feeling of things being unfinished.
- Use logic – and some amount of intuition – to arrange things
Things you’ll always need should be within very easy access. Things you rarely use can go together in a bottom drawer. There should be enough space around your laptop to move your elbows without knocking things down. Current project material should be close at hand, no matter how big or small it might be.
- Give yourself one space to just go crazy
It could be a soft board, where you throw up pictures for inspiration, or a scribble-pad, or one small drawer where you chuck all the cool stuff like the unusually coloured ballpoint pens you use to make timetables. Because some things should be free.
And what are you getting out of all this cleaning up? Better concentration, more space to work, less energy spent in searching and head-scratching, and, finally, more productivity.