Clear Your Desk, Clear Your Mind!

It’s no surprise that our surroundings influence our productivity.  If we’re working in a messy office, chances are the work we do will also be messy.  So maintaining a clean office is a must!

In a recent article, author Stephanie Vozza consults with professional organizer, Jennifer Hoffman, to examine how improving workflow can be accomplished in something as simple as clearing off your desk. Hoffman explains, “Fundamentally, your desk should support you.  …Instead of things that make you feel heavy, guilty or overwhelmed, bring in things that uplift, nourish and encourage you.  For example, replace that pencil cup with a vase of flowers or a budding branch.  Your desk should bear reflection on the best things in your life.”

But Hoffman goes beyond simple desk-top cleanings to declare three things you should ban from your desk in order to improve workflow:

  1. Cords.  If not properly managed, cords are not only an eyesore, but they crowd your desk.   And in this day and age of wireless speakers, mouses and printers, there’s little need for cords crowding an important workspace.
  2. To-Do Pile.  While common, to-do piles not only clutter your desktop, they become an overwhelming and distracting presence, having the opposite affect you may have intended.  Hoffman suggests placing the pile out of eyesight and leaving a more focused to-do list in its place.  This helps you to concentrate your efforts without becoming emotionally burdened by a towering pile of paperwork.
  3. Random Objects.  Old documents, knick-knacks, letters and bills scattered across your desk will do nothing but drain you.  Hoffman says, “Anything that has been sitting on your desk for a year or more and hasn’t been touched or appreciated should be removed.  This stuff affects productivity on an unconscious level.  Energetically it can feel heavy.”

Organizing and cleaning an entire office is a big task; often it helps to begin with the workspace that has the greatest impact on your daily performance.  Start with your desk and remove these three things.  You may be surprised at how this simple task invigorates you, inspiring you to bigger and better things.

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Vozza, Stephanie.  “What You Should Take Off Your Desk Right Now.” 18 March 2013