You’re back fresh and sunkissed from your holiday and ready to get stuck back in at the office, until you’re greeted by a scene of chaos… your messy desk. It’s probably the last thing you want to tackle what with all the emails and projects to catch up on. But a cluttered workspace can often create a cluttered mind, so we’ve put together our top tips to help you clear your space and increase your productivity and stay focused!
1. Commit to the Big Clean
Sifting through the office can seem like a huge task and it’s often we find ourselves putting it on the back burner. First things first, mark that date in to the calendar and make sure it’s on one of your less hectic days, like a Friday evening when the week is starting to wind down. Take a few minutes before you begin to close your eyes and imagine how you’d love your workspace to look and feel. Imagine a bright room, light colours and a sense of freshness to the air. Imagine how good it feels to have an open space, free from distractions for you to foster that burning creativity!
2. Ditch the Clutter
Letting go of all the items that you ‘might use’ will play a huge step towards creating your dream desk space. It’s time to recycle, donate or send to the skip anything that you no longer need. For any items that you’re completely unsure of, place them in a box for review in six months’ time and if they still haven’t been used, get rid! If you’ve recently finished one project and you’ve started into something new, pack away all of the items you’re done with. You can label your boxes with custom stickers or even stamps so you know where everything is. The less clutter left to sit in your workspace, the more organised and refreshed it will feel.
3. Dive into the Junk Drawer
Everyone be honest, we all have one! This is the time to tackle the infamous catch-all drawer head on. Compartmentalise your junk drawer into categories and sections. If this drawer happens to be part of your work station, store anything regularly used at arm’s reach. This also helps with freeing up open space on your desk. Hold on to that declutter mindset and let go of anything that’s old and no longer needed. I mean, how many dry ink pens does anyone need? Give your shelving and drawers a facelift with some paint and wrapping paper to line your shelving and drawers. Rather than throwing out old furniture, it’s just as easy to give them a makeover.
4. Sanitise Your Work Station
You’ve finally ditched the clutter so, for your own sanity and health, ditch the dirt too! Clean down those walls and shelving, dust the cobwebs of the windowsills and wipe down your desk. A clean work area will also reflect on you, showing others that you’re calm, collected and on top of your daily work routine. Make sure to get those wipes out and clean the grubby keyboard and monitors in your area too. You could even make a new mousepad if yours is looking a bit tatty on your now sparkling clean surface. Also single out the bundle of cables around the room to untangle and label them going forward.
5. Declutter Your Desktop
Bring some order to the chaos of your computer, starting with your desktop. File away any documents you no longer use or refer to regularly. Send anything irrelevant off to the virtual recycling bin, eliminate those unnecessary sticky notes, archive any old emails, cancel out the completed tasks and update your to-do lists. Not only with you have a more desirable looking desktop, but you can now also breathe a sigh of relief when you go to find those all-important files on your PC!
6. Proximate by Priority
With the deep cleaning tackled, it’s time to piece your workspace back together again. Organise your drawers, shelving, cabinets and storage based on priority and importance. Keep it simple for yourself and place the most important items at arm’s reach and work outwards from there like your precious Post-it® Notes. If there are items you don’t use every day but do come back to at different intervals, keep them close by without taking up essential desk space on your desk. For files you rarely refer to, sort them away in a cabinet or a filing system that works for you. Make your filing a bit more fun by customising your own file folders.
7. File, Don’t Pile
Don’t abide by the filing cabinet practice in your office? Avoid papers piling up in the future and go paperless! Scan incoming documents onto your PC and virtually file accordingly. Not only will this save on paper, but you’ll never worry about misplacing important files on your freshly-cleaned PC and back-up on a USB key. You’ll also have so much more room in your office for air to circulate and energy to flow!
8. Partition Work and Pleasure
Whether you work from home or in an office, it’s important to minimise distractions to help stay focused throughout the day. Keep toys, gadgets, technology and the likes away from your workspace. Mobile phones can really diminish creativity. So, keep phones in a designated area and only take out when the time is allocated. This can play a huge part in keeping your mind on a particular task and hitting those targets! It also helps to separate your desk and dining space. Avoid working through lunch as much as possible and try sticking to lunch in the kitchen area. Rather than cleaning away crumbs and empty wrappers, save yourself the time and put it into reaching the end of a big project. Leaving your desk can also help refresh your mind and keep focus throughout your day.
9. Motivational Prints for the Mind
Freshen up your walls with some cool wall art prints and motivational quote posters to keep your energy up! Reuse an old frame for your new prints, choose a colour scheme that reflects the essence of your workspace. You can also create your own prints if you have a design in mind or a quote that keeps you inspired on a daily basis.
10. Mark Cleaning into the Calendar
Cleaning is never any fun but we can honestly say that doing a little every day makes for a lighter load! Tidy and store as you go on a daily basis and take as little as ten minutes in the week to wipe down your area. Your work station will be fresh and clean for the next day’s work ahead and certainly makes for a much less gruelling task when it comes to the next big clean out! And remember to subtract before you add to your office. We all happen to hoard deep down, but with this simple trick, you can easily keep the clutter at bay!