organizing your workspace has been a highly debated topic ever since Einstein said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Before you let your desk be swallowed up by a sea of clutter, because Einstein said, you should also know that the average desk is 400% dirtier than the average toilet seat. You should also know, while messy desks might help you think more creatively (and only to a certain point), clean desks help you make healthier decisions and act more generously.
So whether you like a bit of clutter on your desk or are a more of a minimalist, before 2019 arrives, take at 20 minutes (or more!) to clear workspace clutter, get organized, sanitize, and spruce up your work space.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. KNOW WHERE YOU’RE HEADED.
Find a photo to inspire your ‘new’ workspace.
With any project, it’s much easier to get to where you’re headed, if you know where you’re going. Are you a I-need-to-see-everything type of person or a everything-in-a-drawer type of person? Both approaches have pros and cons so decide what’s best for your personality type and work environment.
2. REMOVE EVERYTHING & CLEAN.
And then do this on a regular basis so that you can use your vacation days skiing or laying on the beach rather than sick at home.
3. SORT DOCUMENTS BY CATEGORY.
Collect all items from specific categories and deliberately sort through them one at a time asking yourself,
“Does this contribute to helping me do my job well?” If not, then get rid of it.
You’ll also want to sort through and organize any computer files annually so you can easily access them in the future. While you’re at it, go through your email from 2018 and delete anything you no longer need.
Keep the question, “What are the most important documents I need access to?” top of mind.
Pro Tip: find a filing system that allows documents to be front of mind and looks a lot more organized.
6. WHEN IN DOUBT, GET RID OF IT.
If you haven’t used it in the past three months, you probably don’t need it. And you probably aren’t going to go back and read it or review it — you’ll Google it. If you really do think you’ll actually need to get back to certain information, then a consistent filing system (by date and category) will be essential.
Pro Tip: Most of what we’re throwing away at our desks can be recycled, so Set yourself up with a recycling bin and a trash bin.
6. PERSONALIZE YOUR SPACE.
Plants, pictures, bright lamps, mantra posters, and aromatherapy can help create a more productive and inviting environment.
Here are some other items you might consider adding.
A picture of a fun outing with family and friends.
A good mug/glass that you actually love drinking out of.
A good pen.
A quality chair and wrist-rest.
A hard-to-kill plant. (I’m a big fan of Zanzibar Gem, because it’s nearly impossible to kill, and it has such bright shiny leaves.)
A mood lamp.
An aromatherapy diffuser.
Pro Tip: Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Cinnamon are great for calming and invigorating the mind — just make sure your office buddies are okay with the scents before blasting them out of an electric diffuser. (you can always opt for the bamboo sticks in a jar options.)
The big take-away. Our environment really does affect the way we feel and behave. So become a choice architect and create a workspace that’s not only inviting to work in, but helps improve your productivity, creativity, and kindles healthy habits.