Tidy desk, tidy mind?
Does a clear workspace really help productivity? Can it help you think more clearly and find things more easily? I think so.
I’m based in the HR Office at British Steel’s Scunthorpe site and we're currently going through an office move-around. Almost all of us have or will be moving desks and sitting in new places. To me this is the perfect opportunity to have a clear out, declutter and only move the things to our new homes that we actually need.
Now, I'm a big fan of ‘Hoarders’, ‘Call in the Cleaners’ and more recently Netflix’s ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’, so the opportunity to clean and more importantly organise is something I will always embrace.
For others though, the thought of clearing out that drawer or cupboard that hasn’t been touched properly in years can be quite daunting.
I always follow a few simple steps when attempting to de-clutter:
- Start small: Pick a drawer or a shelf in a cupboard and work on tidying and organising just that. It can be a daunting prospect to look at a whole filing cabinet or cupboard and think that you have to get through it all. You don’t, at least not in one go.
- Empty the whole space: This means take everything out of said drawer or off said shelf. Only then can you see what has been hiding in there for all this time.
- Retain only if required: Only put back the things you need or will need in the coming weeks. Anything you’ve been hanging on to ‘just in case’ should go. If you haven’t needed it in the past 6 months, it’s unlikely that you're going to need it in the next 6 months.
- Keep on top of it: Make it a habit to regularly review what you’re storing. Set yourself a time limit by using labels, if you haven’t used it or needed it from that last date then you don’t need it.
- Take 5 minutes: At the end of your work day or shift, just take 5 minutes to put things away that you’ve been using. Pens back in the pen pot, post-its back in your drawer, files straightened up and put in a tray. That way when you come back to your desk the next day / shift, your day will get off to the right start. If you share a workspace with someone else, try to leave it as you would expect to find it (that’s my mum coming out of me there!)
Keeping your desk or work area tidy can help productivity, be extremely cathartic and can help towards reducing stress! Why not give it a go?