Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind: How to De-Clutter Your Workspace

7th January 2019 | 5 min read

Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind: How to De-Clutter Your Workspace

When there’s always something to add to your to-do list, a clean and organised workspace can seem like wishful thinking. Assignments pile up, deadlines converge and before you know it, your once-neat-and-tidy desk has been buried under a mountain of ‘haven’t dones’ and ‘don’t want to think abouts.’ And de-cluttering it? Well, that can feel like an impossible task.

How a Tidy Desk Can Improve Productivity

Having a clean desk boosts creativity and efficiency; it can reduce stress levels and help you to get more out of your working day. Research has shown that for precise, detailed-orientated work, organised surroundings are especially beneficial. In one study, researchers found that by having too much ‘visual stimuli present’ (i.e. clutter), participants found it significantly more difficult to be productive. Simply put, they lost the ability to focus – even if they were used to working in a messier space. And if you’re constantly looking around for items that you’ve misplaced, you’ll be wasting time too.

Top Tips for Organising Your Desk

Now’s the perfect time to streamline your workspace. And with our guide, you’ll get to enjoy a clear desk – and its benefits – all year long.

Bin Whatever You Don’t Need

It seems obvious, but clearing your desk of anything you no longer need really should be the first thing you do. It’s only then that you can really start to get a system in place. Go through everything on there and be brutal; if it won’t help you achieve anything in your work, it should probably go. Then you can begin to sort out what’s left, which brings us onto…

Find a Proper Place for Everything

With your workspace cleared, it’s time to start finding new homes for all your belongings. This is the time to try a different approach; out with the old and in with the new, as they say. Pen cup was to the top right of your desk? How about trying it on the bottom left? Post-its all over the place? Make a dedicated pile for them instead. As long as you know where everything is, you can’t go wrong. ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ – this is the mantra to live by.

Make Labelling Mandatory

Ideal for all your office needs and keeping yourself organised, labels are essential when it comes to maintaining a tidy workspace. Who has time to waste searching for misplaced items? Using labels is a sure-fire way to remove any doubt as to where your stuff has gotten to. Hard copy of that report you spent ages on gone missing? The stapler you leant your colleague still floating around the office somewhere, slowly but surely reaching an almost ‘mythical object’ status? You’d find them both much quicker if they’d been labelled!

Keep Your Cables Under Control

Even though we live in a wireless world, it’s still commonplace to find chords and cables strewn about modern workspaces. This is both distracting and unnecessary, since tidying away stray wires only takes a few moments, and there’s a high likelihood of it being a long-lasting, if not permanent, solution. As well as conserving space, an out-of-the-way home for loose leads opens your desk to a whole new audience. People get to see first-hand how you’re transforming your work area for the better; they may even follow suit.

Get in the Zone

Any attentive employee understands the value of compartmentalising their work; why not replicate this in your workspace? Shifting directions physically as well as mentally is a great way to promote a consistently energised workflow. Think about having zones for:

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Meetings
  • Correspondence

Express Yourself

The fact is we spend most of our waking hours working, so it’s only right that our workspace feels like us. Creating a homey vibe at your desk is a vital part of de-cluttering. Yes, adding items it may seem counterintuitive, but personalising your desk space is a great way to inspire creativity – which is a good thing in any industry. Every company is different, but most encourage their employees to get creative with their work areas. Photos of family members? Go right ahead. Mascot to keep you motivated? Why not! Make your desk the kind of space you want to work at.

Remember the ‘Five-Minute Finale’

At the end of a hard day’s work, it’s tempting to just head home without a care in the world. But so that you can ensure all your efforts pay off, take the last five minutes to clear up any clutter you’ve accumulated throughout the day. Routine is key to success, so it’s good to get into the habit of giving your desk a final once-over right from the off. That doesn’t mean taking a microfibre cloth to your laptop and monitor every evening; throwing away any lunchtime litter and sorting out your unorganised documents should be enough to give you complete peace of mind before leaving the office. Plus, you’ll be greeted with a clean desk – the perfect thing to help you get started on that spreadsheet – when you come in the next day.

So there you have it; turns out a tidy desk really does equal a tidy mind! Hopefully you’ve been left with all the inspiration needed to make your workspace work for you.