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Declutter Your Workspace in 3 Steps

December 28, 2021


One of the most powerful (but very underestimated) things you can do for your business is to declutter your workspace. How do you do it? In 3 simple steps.

I’m the Marie Kondo of the workplace.

Well … to be honest, I don’t really buy into the barely there idea she promotes. It’s a step too far in my book. But decluttering scores rather high on my happiness dial. Maybe I’ll go even as far as calling myself a minimalist.

See, I feel a deep passion for a tidy workplace on all levels. Clutter creates stress, it creates anxiety, and it makes you less productive.

But let’s square ourself for a moment first.

You probably don’t realise this, but here in New Zealand, we’re in the middle of summer.

Oh yes! We do Christmas on the beach! The entire country takes time off. We banter with the people who matter to us. And we overindulge in pavlova and glazed ham. We do Christmas coma like nobody else.

It’s also during these few weeks, when we come off the hamster wheel, that I find myself spontaneously re-grouping.

Breathe in, breathe out.

And then, like clockwork, the contemplations start flowing….

3 Actions To Declutter Your Workspace

It’s while I pause, during our time on the beach, I usually get a clear image of what’s stopping me from moving forward; what’s serving me and what isn’t. Both professionally and in my personal life.

So, as we turn the page on the year, I clear the deck. Call it my ritual of transition. Fact is, it’s served me really well in the past.

It’s my 3 steps to declutter your workspace for the new year.

And while you may be looking at a snowy landscape rather than a sunny beach, the principle still holds.

Step 1: Clear the clutter in your mind

Did you know there is a thing called mental clutter?

You know… all the thoughts and ideas that float aimlessly through your mind.

Crazy ideas (or maybe not that crazy after all?), unfulfilled goals, urgent to dos.

They all have a habit of tumbling around in your head like a washing machine. Taking up space and distracting you, causing a good amount of anxiety too, if you’re not careful.

So, it’s time to declutter your mind. Get it all out of your head and down on paper (or a digital notes list, if that’s your thing).

The point is, once it’s out, you can stop worrying about it. Honestly, it’s one of the best things you can do for your mental well-being.

As soon as you have it all down, you can start organising it. Putting together a plan,
discarding where need be.

Step 2: Declutter your desk

Wanna know a deep, dark secret?

When my kids were little, I had this habit of keeping my laptop on the kitchen table so I could sneak in a bit more work while I was feeding the kids. It’s not what you would call ‘being in the moment’. More importantly, it doesn’t serve your family or your profession.

Create a dedicated workspace

Now more than ever, with most of us working from home for at least part of the time, we need to consider our work space.

One factor is the need to compartmentalize. Work belongs in its own dedicated space, without allowing it to spill over into our personal space. What it really boils down to is the need for a dedicated home office.

Time to clean up that desk!

But there’s more. Did you know there is a link between physical clutter and procrastination?

Personally, I no longer have printed papers all over my desk (I’m of the fully adjusted digital kind). But that doesn’t stop me from collecting planners, pens, post-it notes and an ever-growing collection of coffee mugs.

To be fair, it’s actually not that bad at all. But the point is, if things are not living in their allocated spot, I can’t focus!

So here’s the take-away: Clearing your physical space optimises your thinking space.

As a result, before you get back to work in 2022, it’s time for a good clean out.

So…

  • Ask yourself what you need and what not. Empty first, then reintroduce what is essential only.
  • Make it a habit of giving things a dedicated place.
  • Make a commitment to regularly declutter your workspace. Whether that is daily or weekly.

Step 3: Organise Your Digital Files

On to step 3…

Having to spend 5 minutes of my time searching for a file is one of my pet-peeves. Want to get me grumpy? This is the way to do it!

I’m the biggest advocate of standardising your filing system. It’s part of our SOP, and I make sure the team is well aware of how I expect them to use the digital filing system.

Here’s how I approach it:

  • I start by deciding what the level 1 folders are. They reflect the core departments in my business. For me, that’s Business Planning, Marketing and Sales, Service Delivery and Business Admin.
  • Then within these level 1 folders, I create level 2 sub-folders. For example, in my Sales and Marketing level 1 folder, you will find a level 2 folder for Social Media, Paid Advertising, Podcast, Email Marketing, Proposals.

Obviously, this is what works for me. You, on the other hand, may want something completely different. The main point is that it needs to make sense, and it needs to be consistent.

So here’s a thought…

Maybe you can allocate the first half day you’re back in your office to give the decluttering of your workspace a really, REALLY good crack.

I have no doubt you’ll find it makes an enormous difference in your business!

I mean, what do you have to lose?

If you’ve enjoyed this episode, share it on Instagram (Don’t forget to tag me). Let me know which one of the declutter tips you’re going to take action on. Maybe you have some to add? I’m keen to know.

Of course, there is also the Podcast for some additional ideas. If you want to be notified of new episodes as soon as they are released, then hit the subscribe button. (And if, like me, you listen to the Apple Podcast App, I would really appreciate if you could rate the show and leave a quick review.)

 


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