January 13 is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. Whether you like it or not, the majority of people judge others by how clean or dirty they keep their workspace and clutter is typically chalked up to laziness. Whether you are conscious of how it affects you, a study at Princeton found that physical clutter in your surroundings has a negative impact on your focus and information processing and increases your stress level.
One of my clients said he likes the idea of a minimalist, clean desk but ‘the only people who have desks like that are people in magazines and you'. I actually don't consider my desk minimalist but I do have only one 2-drawer file cabinet, an Apprentice and that's it. I guess with both my husband and I being small business owners, having that little amount of paper or ‘stuff' could be seen as minimalist. Some people need to work with some level of disorder or to show people that they really do have stuff to do. Be honest….are your stacks of paper a message to people of how important or busy you are?
If you perceive it to be clutter, it is, and it is probably affecting you.
1) You will use as much space as you have. If you get a giant desk, you will use a giant desk.
2) Purge weekly or monthly. Don't continue to let things pile up. Set a timer for 25 minutes and go through everything on your desk. If you finish early, hit your files. Do this on the first day of every month as a recurring task.
3) Don't think that another shiny new office container will help, but don't keep using one that isn't working.
Shoeboxed, Bench and Fujitsu ScanSnap are partnering to encourage people to clean their desks. Upload a photo of your clean desk to be entered into a contest to win a Fujitsu ScanSnap, 6 months of Shoeboxed and 3 months of Bench.
Not sure where to start? Overwhelmed with your paper? Complete the Health and Productivity Scorecard and schedule a session to see how we can get you to less paper, a cleaner desk, and a clearer mind.