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Is a Cluttered Desk Stressing You Out?

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

Some folks feel that a little messiness can inspire creativity. This may be true, but where's the line between messy and chaotic? It can be hard to tell. If your desk at work or in your home office is covered in papers and your file folders are strewn everywhere, there's a good chance your productivity and creativity are being negatively impacted. All of this can result in more stress and a flustered mindset. The key is figuring out how to corral the clutter so that you can work more efficiently in an environment that energizes you. Let's explore some ways to do that.


Your Messy Desk

Your desk says a lot about you. This is especially true if you work in an office or other setting with colleagues and customers. Even if you're an independent professional who works from home, anyone who sees your workspace will form an opinion of you. It's human nature to make judgments. Something you may not have considered is the way the piles and mess strewn on your desk create an impression. Even more than that, though, is the question of how you feel when you work in a cluttered space. If you’ve ever struggled to gain your focus, find the things you need, or accomplish tasks as efficiently as you want, there’s a chance you’ve witnessed the negative effects. This is because visual clutter negatively impacts your concentration, your mood, and your productivity.

Downsides of a Messy Desk

When your desk is cluttered, you waste time (sometimes up to several hours) searching for things you need in order to complete your job. Along with this lost productivity comes the stress of not being able to find what you need. If this is a regular occurrence, it takes a toll on your mental state and may dull your creativity and critical thinking. Along with this, visual clutter is an energy-zapper. When your space is always a mess, you become overwhelmed more quickly. This feeling of being inundated can also take away your motivation, thus lessening your productivity. A clean desk allows your eye to flow, making you feel more energized. It boosts productivity when you're able to find what you need and make fewer mistakes. Increased productivity is a catalyst that leads to getting even more done. This type of success feeds on itself. Also, you'll be projecting a more professional image when your workspace is clean.

Ways to Clear the Clutter

If you have a messy workspace to clean up, it is going to require concentrated effort. Be prepared to lay the hammer down and get rid of EVERYTHING you don’t need. If you can’t think of the last time you used it, or the next time you can guarantee that you will, it isn’t something you need. When it comes to the things you keep, it’s good to come up with a specific place for each thing. This is the place where you will always return these items, no matter what. Put necessary papers in their place, such as a clearly labeled filing system. Keep only basic mementos such as family photographs. Avoid placing items on surrounding furniture such as chairs or cabinets. Once you've cleared away the clutter, keep it neat by reducing your paper intake. Use email and other electronic methods such as scanning documents whenever possible. Do a sweep of your office area every evening, putting things away and clearing surfaces. Limit your tendency to create piles in the first place by setting up labeled baskets for important papers and things you need to look through later.

Don't let a messy desk be your undoing. A few simple steps will help keep your workspace tidy and improve your productivity, not to mention improving your mental outlook.

Blessings & Love,

Jen #thankfulheartscoaching

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