We’ve all heard the expression “A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind.” Of course some may counter with “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of an empty desk?” But I digress. In all seriousness though, I think we can probably all agree that our environment and its level of tidiness or organization does have at least some degree of impact on our mental state, particularly when it comes to doing our job well. Nobody thrives in the center of chaos. It’s distracting, aggravating, draining. In fact, it can be downright paralyzing at times. So let’s highlight a few easy steps we can take to clear out some of the clutter and make room for productivity!
Take the Paper Challenge
To take the paper challenge, you will need: a timer, a trash bag, a file folder, and a box with a lid.
- Set a timer. 5-10 minutes should be plenty of time. Now run through the house just as fast as you can. Pick up any paper that is obvious trash and throw it in the trash bag.
- Now for the file folder. The file folder is an “action” folder. This is where you’ll put any papers that require some action. This could be bills that need to be paid, school forms that need to be filled out and turned back in, notes reminding you to make phone calls, appointment reminders, etc.
- Next comes the box. There is a reason why I specified that the box have a lid. “Out of sight, out of mind.” The visual distraction of clutter is what has the potential to suck the productivity out of us, so put a lid on it! The box is for any papers that belong somewhere else. This could be anything from tax forms to medical statements to kids’ artwork—anything that needs to be put in a designated spot for long-term safekeeping.
Simplify your Digital Spaces
As we exist in an era that is increasingly paper-free, and as we streamline more and more of our processes digitally—on the computer or even our smartphones—we find that those spaces can become cluttered as well.
- Delete, delete, delete. Can’t remember the last time you used an app? Delete it. Done with a document? Delete it. Get rid of out-of-date programs, duplicates, and memory-hogging files if they’re not absolutely necessary.
- Organize. If you can’t delete it, organize it! Create category folders on your computer and phone to organize the things you need to hold onto. Utilize cloud storage with Dropbox or Google Docs to clear up space and keep things tidy.
These are just a few simple ways to declutter your workspace and increase productivity. In just a few minutes you can take control of your environment, clear your mind, and feel great about the space you live and work in so you have more energy and focus for the things that matter most. Now go set that timer and have a productive day!