Your workplace may have all the equipment and furniture you need for a comfortable and productive day at work, but having thesemay not be enough to assure maximum productivity. While you should be busy, your workplace shouldn’tlook busy. When your area has a lot of things to see, it is easy for you to get distracted.
The way you organize your workspace could affect the way you work. Not all people enjoy an extremely organized table or an almost bare workspace without a touch of their personality, but there comes a point when your area has too much going on. A desk with few distractions may help you work better and become a more productive and efficient employee.
Improved Time-Management Skills
Clutter wastes your time in two ways. First, it distracts you from the task at hand. In one hour, how much work can you accomplish when you focus and avoid looking or thinking about something else? When your workplace is cluttered, it’s not difficult for something to catch your attention and lead your mind elsewhere.
If you’re on the computer working on tasks for Client A and you happen to glance at Client B’s files on your desk, you may be tempted to think about Client B and shift your focus there temporarily before going back to Client A. It may only be a short distraction, but by breaking your momentum on Client A’s task, you lose the progress you could have made.
Second, it makes you spend more time finding something you need. Are your files unorganized? If your co-worker or supervisor asks for a stapler or a document, how long can it take you to get it? These nuisances take away time that could be used for more important tasks.
There is a reason why you suddenly feel like doing all the small, menial tasks you can think of when you’re faced with a large task. One study published in the Journal of Personality in 2005 found that it was a way of self-sabotaging your productivity. You may feel like you are not making fast enough progress in your task so you procrastinate with smaller tasks, which you can blame for your lack of progress for the bigger task.
These findings are similar with a 2001 study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers found that people procrastinate by performing smaller and easier tasks in an effort to feel more productive. Completing smaller tasks gives people the feeling of being productive even though they’re not.
So what’s to stop you from procrastinating on the task at hand when you have so many distractions in your workspace? If you are faced with a daunting task, you may suddenly be tempted to turn to the clutter in your area and break your momentum.
Provide a Positive Impression
Have you ever been to a restaurant that looked nice and had great food but, when you saw how filthy their bathroom was, wondered if they carried that level of quality in the kitchen as well? That’s because every part of a business will have an effect on the clients and customers’ impression, and the same applies to your workspace.
Business media platform The Business Journals found that if you want to have a positive first impression of your business, show them an organized workspace. Patients, for example, may be less likely to trust doctors whose offices are untidy with post-it notes attached all over the desk and journals scattered around the room.
The same concept applies to your co-workers, employees, or supervisors. Your workspace says a lot about your organization, habits, and attention to detail. A cluttered and unkempt desk may give them the wrong impression on your work habits.
How to Declutter Your Workspace
Visualize your workplace. Do you have one or two things on your desk that you rarely use but are taking up a lot of space on your desk? Are there files that can be stored away when needed again? Do you have over five trinkets that serve no purpose for your job but you leave it there because you think it looks good?
Consider that maybe you might benefit from decluttering your workplace. It may be difficult to sort out what should remain and what should go, but it can be an easy task once you learn how to sort your belongings according to importance.
Sometimes, you really have to tear something down if you want to build it up even better, and that includes your workspace. Take everything out, including the bulky furniture and the items you know you will need to work with.
Doing this not only helps you see how much space you have to work with, but it also helps you clean away all the accumulated dirt, dust, and garbage. This is a step towards a fresh start and helping yourself achieve a cleaner, more comfortable workspace.
Identify the necessities.
Start bringing your objects back, but this time think if you really need it. If you have a desk job and your workspace is a cubicle, you will definitely need your computer and its accessories. If your job involves papers, you will need a file cabinet for proper organization.
In some cases, however, what seems like a necessity is just taking up extra space. A folder organizer on your desk may be helpful, but unless you always need certain files within your reach to work productively, then it’s just taking up space. Having it there gives you the temptation to place all your papers in there instead of storing them properly in your file cabinet. If it’s not necessary, place all your files in the cabinet and remove the folder organizer on your desk.
Maximize your space based on how you work.
Since you’re starting over with a clutter-free workspace, feel free to find other space-saving ways to put your equipment and furniture back in, not just the way it originally was. You might find that you work better facing one part of the room instead of the original way.
Once you’ve got the bulky items in, consider where to place the smaller items. Don’t bring back items into your space because you like them and want to place it somewhere in the area. Put in the items you think will be important for your productivity and make a conscious decision where to put them. Consider the available space, your daily operations, and how productive you can be once you place these back in. That way, you have a clean, organized, workspace with more room than before.
Develop a habit of decluttering.
Don’t stop with just one decluttering. Your workspace might look clean now, but over time, you may begin to fill your desk with more clutter. Once you begin to feel uncomfortable and easily distracted by the number of objects around you, try to find items you can declutter. People have different tolerance levels of clutter, and if you think you would feel better if you want to see fewer items around the room, consider buying more efficient storage options.
Cluttered workspaces may not only be an eyesore, but they can also be detrimental to your productivity, focus, comfort, and the impression you leave with clients, co-workers, and supervisors. Avoid building up clutter and learn how to put away items you will not always need. Recognize which items are truly necessary, discard items that aren’t, and find ways to maximize your space.