Whether you're growing your business or collaborating on a team project, it's essential to have a workspace that's organized and relaxing to work in. A neat and tidy space not only helps keep your mind refreshed, but it can also boost your productivity.
Your workspace reflects what's going on in your brain, and the more organized it is, the more constructive and useful you'll be. Disorganization and hoarding objects have harmful effects and cause you to have extreme anxiety when making decisions, according to Psychology Today. It can also cause stress, make you feel burned out, reduce your ability to concentrate and magnify negative emotions associated with clutter.
As a way to help avoid some of those harmful effects, there are a few simple steps you can take to organize your workspace and clear your mind.
1. Throw out what you don't need.
The first step is to conduct a workspace audit where you determine what items, paperwork, and supplies you truly need and what you can do without. Take a good look at what's in your office space. Determine what you use every day, what you use once in a while, and what you never use. Then create separate piles for trash, items you want to keep and those you wish to donate.
Initially, it may seem difficult to get rid of certain items or materials, but if you know you never use them, there is no point in having them. They only add to the mess in your office and your mindset, so you are better off getting rid of them.
2. Hide electrical wires and chargers.
Simply hiding the wires in your space will make a huge difference in how clean and neat it is. Communicating with clients in your office when it's in a state of disarray can be embarrassing. If you know it's messy, so do others. That's a clear sign that it is time to take steps that will help you feel better inviting others into your workspace.
It's handy to use a surge protector to keep all your cords charged to the same outlet so you don't have wires coming from several places. If your work desk has an open back, put the wires in that opening so when you shut the drawer, they aren't visible. The goal is to make sure your cords are in an accessible place but don't draw too much attention to themselves.
3. Recycle extra papers.
With how digitized the average workplace has become, there's not much reason to have tons of paper files lying around your office. Most businesses and companies use apps and online resources to get their work done and don't need to rely on paper products to accomplish tasks. Unless using paper is a must, try to decrease the amount of paper you use and recycle the paper you no longer need.
4. Minimize desk clutter.
Although it's easy to throw random things on our desks, they are not the equivalent of storage space and shouldn't be treated as such. This is the place where you're supposed to work on your career goals and accomplish important tasks, so treat it as such.
With organization comes minimizing what we have and maximizing the space we're working with. If something is sitting out in the open on your desk and not shoved in the back of a drawer, there's a good chance it's useful to you and will enhance your productivity. Use the existing wall space you have to minimize the clutter on your desk. Put up hanging shelves that can hold your must-have items. If you want your items in drawers, buy small storage bins that will hold items in them so you don't have a bunch of stuff randomly floating around.
5. Clean regularly.
Unfortunately, cleaning one time and never again isn't going to help you stay organized in the long term. You must make cleaning your workspace periodically a conscious habit – much like scheduling emails or attending meetings – so it never goes back to being a cluttered mess.
Pick a frequency that works for you. Tidying up for 15 minutes once a week should be more than enough time to put everything back into place and wipe down your desktop. Try your best not to be lazy about your cleanup, because that'll leave you with more to do down the road. If something has no use to you or doesn't liven up your workspace, don't be afraid to throw it away.
In the end, a key component to cultivating a positive work life is organizing and cleaning up your workspace. A tidy work area will lead to a tidy mind. When you realize how much time you waste by looking for misplaced items and trying to get through the clutter, it'll be a relief to finally have a space that's sorted properly.