The spaces or areas where we work directly affect our creativity and productivity. It could either boost our productivity or create mental barriers that could affect the way we do things. Most of us spend around eight hours in our work spaces or offices, which is way more than any time we spend in a single space in our homes (except for our bedrooms of course). This is why it’s very important that we exert an effort in making our work spaces conducive to being an area of productivity.
Depending on the type of work that we do, a work space may vary from person to person. For the usual office worker, it can be the desk assigned to you where you do most of your work. For the digital nomad who is frequently travelling, it can be the rental co-working space that they use and their laptop and for the arts and crafts people, it can be their garage or the dedicated room where they produce their art.
It does not matter what or where your work space is. The important things to bear in mind is that, you can adjust, change and improve your work environment towards making it an optimal space where you can create and execute your ideas to its fullest potential.
If you are still not convince why you should clean and tidy up, here are the benefits of having an organise and clean working space:
Is your desk full of papers from God-knows where? And those documents are peppered with post-its with handwritten notes on it. Imagine seeing those on a daily basis while you are trying to construct an email for your boss or for a very important client. It’ll be very difficult to do so, right?
This is because your eyes keep on seeing these document and your brain keeps on thinking about what to do with them thus disturbing your focus from the current task on hand.
If you remove all those clutter, you will be able to retain laser focus on the task at hand and prevent you from committing avoidable mistakes and errors.
1. Get an incoming and outgoing tray. The incoming tray can be used for documents that need your attention and the outgoing tray can be used for those that you have finished reviewing and responding already.
2. Get folders and create labels based on urgency, or whatever category makes sense for you.
3. Depending on your document retention policy, shred all documents that exceed the timeline (create digital backups if needed or required).
4. Keep archived documents inside your drawers and not on your desk.
5. Follow the same formula for your desktop or laptop and arrange everything using desktop folders.
Promotes Professionalism and Boosts Team Morale
A clean and organise work space says a lot about the person using it. It is a visual signal that says this person is organise and professional. Imagine your boss or your boss’s boss walking up to your desk and see that not only you meet and exceed the targets and goals set for you, but you also have a clean and organise desk.
It will give them the impression that you are always on top of things and that they can rely on you when it comes to helping them achieve the overall goals of the team.
If your colleague or someone new in your team walks up to you and see that you have a clean desk, they will think that if you could deliver the results while maintaining a clean desk, maybe they could do the same too. You will be able to help create a team culture that promotes organisation and cleanliness without sacrificing results.
Promotes Laser Focus
If you have a clean and organise work space, you can retain your focus on the task at hand and avoid committing mistakes or errors that often result to re-doing things. Your mind will not wander off to various undone task because they are basically out of your sight.
To prevent you from forgetting the other tasks that need to be done within the day, you may employ the use of your desktop/laptop calendars or set an alarm using your phone. You can also write down all the tasks that needs to be done within the day using your old but ever reliable notebook to make sure that you finish everything on time while keeping your desk clean and organised.
Saves You Time
If you have a clean and organise work space, you will know where to find your stapler, your scissors, the documents that you need to have to sign etc. In my previous jobs, I noticed that a lot of my colleagues waste time in finding things only to find them buried underneath all those papers on their desk.
This is also the same for your digital files. You can organise them and delete the unnecessary files to prevent your desktop/laptop from being cluttered.
1. Avoid using your office laptops for personal use or if you do not have a personal laptop/desktop at home, create a folder on your work laptop and label it as personal and this will be the only folder where you could save and store personal files.
2. Create a Table of Contents on your desktop using Microsoft Excel and list down all the files that you use and hyperlink them to the respective files. This will make finding files so much easier.
Organising your work space will not only save you time but it will also reduce and remove unnecessary stress. I remember when I was new at work, I didn’t have that much experience and techniques in organising my work stuff and I always end up late and nervously rushing to a meeting because I could not find the needed document that I had to present.
I could have avoided that situation if I organised my papers and my files.
Having a clean desk not only helps you become more productive but it also makes you more creative. By having less distractions on sight, your mind could better focus on the problems that you are trying to solve. Your clean and organised work environment helps you gain mental clarity thus enabling you to process ideas more creatively.