What do the words “cluttered desk” call to mind? Unorganized? Stressed out? Unfocused? Drowning in responsibility?
A cluttered desk doesn’t just affect your ability to focus on a task, complete your work in a timely manner, and keep anxiety levels low, it can actually cause debilitating migraines in some people. Scottish researchers discovered that a cluttered office might trigger severe pain by over-stimulating whole clusters of nerve cells!
It’s time to declutter your desk. A clean desk improves focus, relieves stress, and makes you look and feel more efficient, responsible, and organized. Take 5 minutes at the end of every workday to declutter your desk so that you can start tomorrow fresh.
Tips for De-cluttering Your Desk
1. Get rid of sticky notes:
Sticky notes littering the surface of a desk can cause anxiety in even the calmest mind. If you’re attached to sticky notes, consider putting them on a colorful poster board. You can separate sticky notes by task or day, according to your preference. There are many apps that will allow you to store your stickies on the computer so that you can open them at your convenience.
2. Don’t be a slave to the to-do list:
Try a day where you crumple up your to-do list and throw it away. Be creative and flex your intuitive muscles. Rather than being guided by a to-do list, check in with yourself. You get to decide what you want to work on that day. Practicing more flexibility in your day might allow you to get that project from six months ago done, or spark an idea for your next!
3. Clear the surface of nonessentials:
Get rid of anything you aren’t using. That includes staplers, paperclips, scissors, calculators, etc. Nonessentials belong in organized drawers, and your desk’s surface should be reserved for the project you are currently working on.
4. Finish It Up:
Projects on hold belong filed away or placed in the appropriate drawer, but even when they’re out of sight, it doesn’t mean they’re out of mind. Sometimes uncompleted projects can still cause mind clutter and lead to unnecessary stress. Use the 30-minute rule. If you can complete a task in 30 minutes, take care of it then and there so it can be filed away completely, rather than putting it off for another day.
5. Clear Away Viral Clutter:
Got an extra minute? Clear away old emails at the end of your day so that you aren’t bombarded by yesterday, tomorrow. Likewise, keep all folders on your computer organized and appropriately filed.