I know how easy it is to fall victim to a messy desk. Trust me. Right now, I’m writing amongst a stack of papers, scattered paperclips, and an old granola bar wrapper. It’s driving me crazy. When you’re busy and you work hard — as most of us do — it doesn’t take long for your desk to become crowded with junk. But, a cluttered and messy desk can actually have a negative impact on your productivity. In fact, a study by Office Max found that 77% of participants believed clutter was damaging to their motivation and focus. So, to inspire you to clear the clutter and make room for actual work, I’ve rounded up just a few of the ways a disorganized desk is screwing up your ability to churn out work at a breakneck pace:
1. You feel frazzled.
Think of your desk as a reflection of your mental space. If it’s a total mess, you’re probably going to feel like a mess too. Those piles of papers and sticky notes tacked all around your computer monitor are distracting and can contribute to higher feelings of stress and anxiety. So, straighten up your workspace and keep one simple list near your computer for those little thoughts that pop into your mind. That way, you can easily find them to reference later and they won’t be crowding your whole space.
2. You have a harder time finding what you need.
Sure, there are those incredibly messy people who still seem to always know where things are. But, it’s probably not a skill you want to master. The more disorganized your desk is, the harder time you’ll have locating things. And, that time you spend digging through piles to find what you need? Well, that could’ve been spent on actual work. See how this is starting to send your productivity into a downward spiral?
3. You’re more likely to forget important things.
On the same token as losing things, a messy desk will probably cause you to forget things as well. It’s great that you wrote yourself a note to remember to drop something in the mail or to call a client back. But, what good does that reminder do if you can’t actually find it? Spoiler alert: not a lot.
4. You have less space to actually be productive.
In order to get things done, you need physical space in which to work. This shouldn’t be surprising. So, if your desk is littered with old coffee cups, mountains of untouched paperwork, and unopened mail, where are you going to actually sit down and work? Clear out all of the crap and give yourself a decent workspace. You deserve it.
5. You don’t look dependable.
I’m a total believer in the whole “you can’t judge a book by its cover” mentality. But, in this case, you do need to be at least a little careful about keeping up appearances. Do you think your boss will be more willing to hand an important project off to the person with the organized desk, or to the person who had trouble even finding their own business card beneath the piles of craziness in their workspace? That should be an easy question. The judgements may not always ring true, but someone with a more orderly desk will always look more on top of things than the person whose desk resembles a landfill.
If you’re looking to kick your productivity into high gear, your workspace could be having a bigger impact than you even think. So, clear off your desk and get ready to get some work done!
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