When you’re establishing yourself in a new office, it can feel like you have a fresh start on keeping your workspace neat and organized. When you feel more organized it can be easier to take on the day and be more productive. A cluttered desk can be stressful, there are even studies to prove it. One such study done by Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that clutter limits your brain’s ability to properly process information, thus making you less productive. It seems that Einstein was wrong about one thing, when he said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Depending on your own personal work habits, the number of knickknacks you keep on your desk can positively affect your mood, which increases productivity. However, an unkempt desk can cause you to lose track of lists, documents, and memos which can hold back your performance.
Here are some ways to keep your desk organized to increase productivity:
When you’re organizing anything, sage advice is to always go vertical with your space. If you work in a cubicle, or just don’t have an expansive desk, work with the space you’ve got. Creating a “place” for everything helps you file things away and retrieve them again quickly when you need them. Keeping paper vertical instead of horizontal seems to defy physics but it’s actually a helpful way to separate documents. When papers sit flat on your desk, stacks can easily become disorganized. This makes it a good idea to immediately file papers away, either in a drawer or on your desk where it’s in your line of sight.
Arm’s Length Test
Whenever you’re adding an element to your desk, make sure whatever’s within arm’s reach is used day-to-day. If it’s a souvenir from vacation, keep it closer to the edge to make room for more important items. Filers, writing utensils, coffee mug, notebook–whatever you use to get through the day–should be some of the closest things to you.
Add Some Green
Nature is calming and decreases stress levels, which can help improve your productivity. Adding a small plant within your line of sight can create a brighter, happier space. If you stare at a computer screen for most of your day, a small plant can be an inviting refuge. Desk plants are great for sunny workplaces and even in offices that use LED and fluorescent lights. Make sure to put a small plate under your plant so that you don’t damage the desk from watering!
Adding yellow light from a small desk lamp helps break up the blue light emitted from computer screens. They’re calming and help you focus on documents if you’re going through them with a fine-tooth comb. Desk lamps can also be great if they have built-in outlets, so you never have to crawl under your desk to plug in a charger again.
Organize Your Digital Desktop
It’s the end of a productive workday day, and you’re closing down all of your windows, only to be inundated with icons once you get back to your home screen. Think of your digital desktop like your physical one–organize with files! Getting into this habit may take some time, but immediately storing documents away into desktop files keeps your desktop clear and your hard work is right where you need it to be.