26 Oct

Clean Workspace, Clean Thinking

Your workspace is an important space for your success. It’s where you go to get things done. Not having a clean workspace can create huge problems. You might feel like you’re stuck when really, you just can’t see past the disorganization. It’s more than not being able to easily find what you need. Having a disorganized area changes the way you see things. Challenges can seem more difficult than they should, and as a result, your mood deteriorates.

I hate working in messy areas. Sometimes it feels worse than not getting to work at all. Staring at the disorder on my desk makes me feel like I’m not in control and things are too chaotic. It’s overwhelming to see and it’s not for me. Having a clean workspace is one of the key features of managing my projects.

Unfortunately, I created my own nightmare.

My office had become a bit of a disaster zone lately. I had papers, headphones, and random items (some mine, some belonging to my little guy) all over the place. And as a result, I was constantly distracted. I couldn’t push myself to move from one task to another. Some of the things I’ve been doing successfully for years, like managing my content calendar, were suddenly daunting, major tasks. I couldn’t get my focus together and really work.

I had to take control and throw everything on the floor. Literally.

I made a clean sweep of my whole desk. Put everything on the ground and sorted it. I had to decide what stayed and what went. I tried to follow the KonMari method from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which mixes organization and neatness with throwing out the things that aren’t helping you.

That was all it took to gain clarity. I had spent 2 hours getting through the first 25% of my project but once I had a clean workspace, I finished it in 30 minutes.

De-cluttering doesn’t stop in your office. With all the technology we use to keep track of our lives, it’s important to look past the desk when thinking about a clean workspace. Don’t keep dozens of browser tabs open at a time. Clear out your downloads, pare down the number of extensions you use. Streamline multiple organizational apps into one. Arrange your key applications into folders. Anything that makes your technological life neater is worth considering as a method to neaten your virtual office.

Cluttering your environment clutters up your mind too. It’s too easy to get distracted by all the tasks left undone. We’re usually balancing a lot of priorities and shift work for things due later further out. But having constant reminders of what lies ahead distracts us from our most pressing to-do items. I’ve been struggling with organizing my professional life but it’s one area where I have to stay on track.

Keep up a clean workspace and it becomes easier to tackle daily problems. Organizing yourself and your space won’t only make those notes from 3 weeks ago much easier to find—it’ll also help you clear your mind and get things done.