Think about your morning commute. You know every turn, every signal, and the entire route by heart. But when there’s construction, and you have to take a detour, it can become frustrating. Similarly, a cluttered workspace makes it tougher for you to get things done.
You need time to search for materials or supplies, interrupting your workflow and train of thought. Consequently, it is vital to think about how to declutter your desk.
The Negative Relationship Between a Messy Desk and Productivity
According to several studies, office clutter and disorganization can have a severe impact on productivity and overall well-being. An executive loses about one hour per day trying to search for documents and papers that they require, leading to increased levels of stress, reduced concentration and creative thinking.
Moreover, the biggest drawback for small businesses is the inability to service customers efficiently since employees cannot find the paperwork they require. Many culprits lead to mishandled paperwork and disorganization, but the most common cause is a messy desk.
When you don’t know how to declutter your desk, you tend to misplace documents, lose information, and experience rising levels of stress. Besides, the messy desk creates a perception about you in the office, which can lead to heightened levels of self-consciousness, distracting you from work-related tasks.
A messy desk isn’t unimportant. If you don’t know how to declutter your desk, it can have a detrimental impact on your productivity and output.
Why Do You Need to Declutter Your Desk?
Businesses often spend considerable effort to discover ways in which they can maximize employee productivity. While there isn’t a cure-all for every situation, but there are some strategies that have proven to deliver successful results in many cases. Interestingly, one of these strategies is maintaining a clean desk.
Here are some reasons that indicate the importance of cutting on the clutter:
1. Messy desks are overwhelming
A cluttered workspace changes the aesthetics and your mindset. When you have a lot of mess on your desk, you find it challenging to concentrate on work. It is easy to get distracted because of the things that are lying around you. Therefore, after you declutter, you are in a better position to perform and focus on what needs to be done.
2. Impacts your productivity
We always want to do more in less time. However, if you have to struggle to find essential items and the papers you need to complete the task at hand, your productivity levels will take a hit. If you keep everything at a designated spot, you spend less time looking for it and are mostly working on delivering results.
3. Have more space
Some employees feel claustrophobic sitting at their desk. If that is the case, it is high time you organized things and got rid of what you don’t need. When you have an open space, you will feel more relaxed and be able to take a deep breath.
4. Better immunity
When there’s a lot of clutter on your desk, it probably hasn’t been disinfected or cleaned for a while. As a result, you could have the germs of sick coworkers lingering on your desk. It is a good idea to wipe off the desk using a disinfectant so that you are at a lesser risk of potential sickness.
5. Boosts confidence
If you are not organized, you can misplace or lose important items. Suppose a coworker asks for a document, and you are unable to find it since your desk is in a mess. You spend time hunting for it, and in the process, begin to feel frustrating. On the other hand, when you can easily get the required paperwork, you feel more confident. You feel like you’ve accomplished the tasks assigned to you instead of feeling like you have to struggle to get through a workday.
Tips on How to Declutter Your Desk
Now that you have a clear idea of why you need to get clutter under control, it is essential to know how you can do that.
Tip #1: Remove everything
Getting started isn’t easy. But the best way to do it is a total purge. Remove everything that’s lying on the desk. Clear the drawer, the cabinets, and the filing system. At first, you’ll have large files on the floor. However, as you determine what you need to keep and what you can get rid of, you’ll realize that the effort was worth it.
Tip #2: Clean it
When you remove clutter, you’ll see piles of dust that’s accumulated behind those papers and files. Use a duster or alcohol wipes to clean the space.
Tip #3: See what you need and what you don’t
Many employees have the habit of keeping things, thinking that they might need them later. While certain papers are vital and need to be preserved for long periods, others have a temporary lifetime. Organize papers as per date and toss the ones you don’t need into the bin.
Tip #4: Use labels
You wouldn’t realise the value of those tiny post-it notes until you start using them. When you know where you’ve kept what, whether it is the hard copy of an invoice or the stamp, you will save a lot of time.
Tip #5: Dedicate specific spaces for specific things
When you start labelling, keep in mind that every space is designated for particular things. That way, you’ll know where you need to keep the papers, the office supplies, what the drawer is for, how older files can be stacked in the cabinet, and more.
Tip #6: Know what you need daily and what can be put in the drawer
While you are rearranging everything on your desk, keep the essential items above the deck and store the rest in the drawer. Keep most items out of sight so that you have a clean desk. This tip is valuable on how to declutter your desk.
Tip #7: Get a desk organizer
The market is full of different varieties of desk organizers. They have different styles, textures, patterns, and colours. Make sure you evaluate their usability and value in terms of the number of office supplies you can organize in them.
Tip #8: Re-organize the files
Instead of stacking the files in the cabinet, sensibly organize them. It can be in alphabetical order or order of priority. Remember that the objective of this activity is to make it easier for you to find the files, so put them in a way that is suitable for you.
Tip #9: Make folders for meetings
Have a folder that you can carry for meetings. Put in all the presentation notes, RFP, and other material that you need to meet with the client. A dedicated folder for meetings improves your preparedness. You know what you need to refer to for a follow-up.
Tip #10: Use additional space
Many desks are near the window or the wall. These always have more storage space than what your eyes can see. Place the pencil holder on the windowsill and save more space on your desk.
Deciding on how to declutter your desk isn’t difficult, but maintaining it is. Enact these habits on an ongoing basis, and you’ll see that you’ll mostly have an organized and well-arranged desk.
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