Clutter can make it difficult for you to work effectively and be efficient. A messy workspace can make one feel as if work is piling up all around them.
According to the The American Institute of Stress, job stress is the biggest source of stress in American adults. We need to do all we can to reduce this on-the-job strain. Just one step in our overall search for a stress-free work environment is cleaning up the everyday clutter that surrounds us.
Here are five ways that you can reduce the chaos in your personal workspace, and in the office in general.
Clean your office
You may have a company that comes in to do the small stuff like vacuum the floors and take out the garbage, but when is the last time you actually looked at the filing cabinet or dusted your computer? Pick one item to tackle each day and wrangle it into order. Here’s a sample list of items around your workspace that might need a little work:
Monday: Dust the computer monitor. Dust the bases holding the monitor. Dust the computer itself. Spray out the keyboard. Clean the mouse and mouse pad.
Tuesday: Dust the top of the filing cabinet. Go through the drawers and shred anything you don’t actually need. Remind yourself what is actually stored in those files.
Wednesday: Go through desk drawers. Toss out anything you don’t need and organize what you do need. Visit the supply cabinet to refill items or grab organizing bins so that everything is easy to find.
Thursday: Go through everything in your “things I don’t really want to do” pile. Throw out what is already done and do everything that can be done rapidly. Write a plan for completing long-term or time-consuming tasks in this category.
Friday: Look at the top of your desk and the walls of your office and throw out or file anything you don’t commonly use. Do you actually need that “to do” list from two months ago pinned to your wall?
This is a sample list. You should certainly make your own.
Organize your Computer
Many of us have a cluttered desktop, a bloated number of bookmarks, and way too many tutorials we need to study. Now is the time to tackle these issues. Here are some places clutter may be lurking within your computer:
- Desktop files and documents that don’t seem to have a “home.” Find them one, even if it’s a “Miscellaneous” folder.
- Folders within folders within folders within folders. You don’t need to remake the movie Inception with your filing system. Instead, create something that makes sense to you and allows you to easily access the projects you need. If you need to archive information, create an archive system that you can think with. Perhaps when a project is closed out, you can archive it under the date it was completed, then the project title, then the type of project it is. For example: 2015-01-22-ComputerCleaning-SpringCleaning. That may make for a long document or folder title, but it’s more important that the item is easily searchable than having a succinct name.
- All of those bookmarks. It may be that you don’t have time to read interesting or relevant articles online, so you bookmark them for later. Take some time to go through all of these little reminders. Delete things that are no longer relevant, read the articles you want to read, and file away anything you will want to utilize later. Information online is constantly updating and you may find that an article you bookmarked a year ago is no longer useful to you.
- Old emails. This falls into the same category as bookmarks and old projects. Archive what is relevant for a particular project, read the emails you have been avoiding, and delete anything no longer relevant.
Dust off old lists
Many of us have networking lists, ideas lists, and “to do” lists. Take a look at your lists, new and old, and see what is relevant. There may be someone you haven’t talked with since last year’s conference on your networking list that would be a great contact for the project you are working on. Perhaps your ideas list has just what you need to kickstart that new project.
You may have forgotten what you did last year to make this year an even better and brighter one!
Clean up your social media profiles
Your face is all over the internet, whether it is the face of your business or your face, personally. Be sure to take a look at your business and personal social profiles – from Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn – and update them as needed.
Perhaps your company phone number was not updated on Facebook or your new job title is not listed on LinkedIn. No matter what it is, make sure your online information is up-to-date and presentable. Potential clients do check online profiles along with your website. So keep it professional.
Remind yourself of your long-term goals
No matter your job title, you have long-term goals that are job related. These may be linked to a salary or position. These goals may be related to business expansion. No matter what they are, it’s time to revisit them. Are you achieving these goals? Can you streamline your job to fit them better? How can you work toward feeding them each and every day?
De-cluttering your office space will help you de-stress more easily. You’ll know that you are on top of things and there are no projects piling up at the back of your desk… and tangling up your mind.