I’ve just lately developed a habit where, the instance I can’t pay attention to my work, I look around me and see whether there’s any type of cleaning or organizing I can do. I wouldn’t call myself obsessive compulsive, certainly not, for me it’s a way of staying productive, and I’ll tell you why.

First of all, if you asked a selection of people whether they would have a preference for working or spending their time in a clear, nice looking environment in comparison with a dirty, messy environment, its likely that they’ll pick the former. You may be thinking, ‘Yes, no shit?’, but then why do so many of us have a problem with keeping our work area tidy? I know I used to. I’d get home from school, go to work on a project or a song, take a plate of food and a glass of water in with me and place it on my desk after consuming it. I told myself that I’d pick it up after my break in 15 minutes, but then I get distracted, I go off on another excursion and so it sits there – not that my dish or glass is lonely considering that there’s plenty of other objects such as textbooks and pieces of (important) paper lying around. The problem with this, is that it eventually becomes a distraction from you doing work. It’s in the corner of your eye continually, you may not be thinking about it; but your subconscious is, and this tends to work it’s way to you. Of course, this isn’t the same for everyone – in fact, some individuals are more productive when sitting down at a messy desk or work space. I’m talking from a personal point of view, like I do with most of my posts on this website. But I know some of you will benefit.

So why should you keep your work surface tidy?

  • It creates a good impression - if you’re the type of person that likes to work from home, then this doesn’t matter a whole lot, unless you have recurrent visitors. If you own an organization, or work in a company that involves you having your own work place; then this point can be valuable. A well organized and cleaned work place can create a good impression for customers, and possibly your boss (if you work for someone), it makes you appear as if you’ve got things under control, that you’re organized. One could say, a visual outlook of personality. It’s also more professional, you wouldn’t expect to walk into a 5 star hotel and detect dirty plates and piled up documents all over the reception bench.
  • It relieves stress - a clean work-desk tells your mind that you’re organised and has things under control, for most people, clean environments provide a sense of peace and comfort, which generally leads to reduced stress. Another point to make is that by maximizing your productivity, you’re most likely going to reduce stress as you have more time to do other tasks.
  • It’s more hygienic - by having a tidy work area, you’re less likely to breathe in dust and also less likely to contract a health problem from bacteria lying around.

How on earth do you keep your workspace organized?

  • Set a routine – set a day each week where you do a quick clean of your office, under your computer, keyboard etc. Get rid of anything around your desk that may be distracting as well. Committing to one day every week shouldn’t be too hard and will be easy to keep track of. It’s also a smart idea to do a proper tidy (dust, wipe down etc) every number of weeks or so, just be sure to keep it consistent.
  • Get motivated – change your computer’s desktop wallpaper, or re-arrange some item in your workplace. This may or may not do the job, but for me it works well. Whenever I change my wallpaper or rearrange something in my room, or even clean another area of the house; I get motivation to clean my workspace, so all of it fits together well.
  • Visualize the end goal – If you find it’s hard to keep up a regular cleaning routine, then focus on your end goal. Which benefits it will bring to you, how it may help out your business and/or productivity. Sometimes we forget to picture the end goal and get demotivated, but try your hardest to remember.

Are you aware of any tips for keeping a clean and tidy workspace? If so, what are they? Comment below!