Clear the Clutter and Get Organized

Clutter is the ultimate enemy of a tidy workspace

No matter how affectionate you may feel toward your beloved clutter, a clean and tidy workspace generally leads to better productivity. Your workspace is a reflection of your mind, and this is why most people find it easier to focus and get things done when things are tidy.

Clear the Clutter and Get OrganizedOrganizing your workspace can get complicated, but the simplest way to keep things tidy is to reduce clutter. Clutter is the ultimate enemy of a tidy workspace.

Keep Surfaces Clean

The main trouble area for clutter is surfaces. Your desktop, shelves, filing cabinet tops, and so on, are where clutter is most likely to accumulate. You can create whatever kind of filing system you want, but at the very least make sure that your surfaces stay clean.

Put It Away

As soon as you use something, put it away immediately. After using a pair of scissors, don’t toss them onto your desk where you’re likely to forget about them. Put them back in their rightful place. Get into a habit of doing this and it’ll be second nature.

Go Paperless

A great deal of workplace clutter is paper, but in today’s digital office, there’s little need for it. Whenever possible, go paperless. Scan documents and store files digitally. Going paperless not only reduces the clutter paperwork causes but is also good for the environment.

Create a Zone for Important Stuff

Create one particular space for important things that need to be dealt with as soon as possible. This is one part of your workspace where it’s okay to pile things up. Make it something like your inbox and set aside at least a little time each day for going through these important things to-do.

Create a Zone for Current Stuff

You might also want to create a space for files and things related to any current or ongoing projects. For current projects, you may need to access these files often and it’s a drain on your time to keep filing and retrieving them. When the project is done, file this stuff with your regular files.

Identify Trouble Spots

In every workspace, there are certain areas where things tend to pile up. This could be an area that’s used by many people or an area that’s simply a convenient place to put things. Identify this spot and pay especially close attention to it, making sure that things don’t pile up there. If necessary, create a special tidying plan for handling this area.

Consider Off-Site Storage

If storage causes clutter, consider off-site storage. You don’t need to store everything related to your work at your desk. Choose a storage space in another part of your house or office, or consider storing in another facility.

Organize Cables

In today’s high-tech age, every workspace has a tangle of electric cables. While these cables may be behind the computer and out of the way, they can still contribute to a feeling of clutter, not to mention the potential safety hazard. Hide cables as well as possible and look into buying cable holders.

Get Rid of Personal Items

Cut down on personal items at your workspace. It’s all right if you want to leave a few pictures around, but keep it free from personal items as much as possible. If you work at home, try as much as possible to create a workspace with few personal distractions.

Create Tidying Habits

Keeping your workspace tidy takes daily effort, but if you get into regular tidying habits, it won’t feel like it. Set aside a little time for cleaning daily. You can decide on how long to clean and set a timer. Tidy up and do some basic cleaning like dusting or scrubbing surfaces. It’s good to schedule your daily cleaning for the end of the day when you’re shutting things down.

Start from Scratch

If your workspace is cluttered and you really don’t know what to do, remove everything and start from scratch. Take everything out of your workspace and only bring it back when you feel that you need it. If there are items you never feel the need to replace, you didn’t need them.

For example, you might remove small items like scissors, staples, tissues, markers and calendars from your workspace. Once you start working, you may immediately feel that you need your calendar. You might later need your scissors to cut something. However, you may never feel the need for your staples and markers. You now know that these are items that are just cluttering up your workspace.

Finally, other areas of the office or house could also have a detrimental effect on your focus. You may want to keep those areas tidy as well.

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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22 thoughts on “Clear the Clutter and Get Organized

  1. Remarkable tips for making the workplace more organized and comfortable place to work. Keeping office or workplace organized is actually one of the most difficult part of having it.

  2. Oh Mike, I need to clean up my work-space. You’ve provided some great tips. My office space is being reworked and I’m working on a dining room table. I do need to create areas for my current and important work. I hate looking for papers I need. I feel so unorganized and my dining room is a mess!
    Tammy recently posted…Body ButterMy Profile

    • Start small tammy it will make things easier, just tidy a little area for 5 mins before every hour, by the end of the day you will have spent around 40 mins tidying and it will either be done or well on the way

  3. Hi Mike

    I love the idea that a clean workspace produces the best results… Time to clean up!

    I was bordering on OCD (according to my wife), but since having a child (she is almost 3 now), I’ve really had to let go a little (ok, a lot). My desk at home has always been a nightmare though simply because I had no storage space. BUT… the new desk arrived yesterday and it’s time to move everything off the desktop and into the drawers.
    Duane Reeve recently posted…How to Make Money Online with Affiliate ProductsMy Profile

  4. Awesome post Mike! Starting from scratch sounds like a great idea. I actually reorganise my office around every 3 months …I have to be in the mood and then nothing stops me! Its quite energising!

  5. I love starting from scratch when it comes to a work space. As a head teacher my desk always had the potential to be a mess but I was able to organise the various sections. Now that I only have a small table I’m still very organised. Good tips here as always Mike!
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