Clutter is decreasing your productivity
Updated: Apr 28
There's a great chance that you're reading this article while working from home...because according to Nicholas Bloom, Stanford economist, we've seen an incredible 42% of the U.S. labor force now working from home full-time. Mind-blowing, right?
Now, If you are working from home, it's time to start observing your surroundings and ask yourself if your space is an inviting environment for you to be productive. Clutter can affect our general mental health, making us feel stressed, anxious, and depressed and when we talk about our workspace...meaning it affects our productivity.
Scientists at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, have used fMRI and other approaches to show that our brains like order, and alarmingly, constant visual reminders of disorganization, drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to focus.
And this happened to Henrique Vasconcelos, a B2B Sales Expert, who has been working from home for the last five years...who said he's seen a decrease in his productivity levels when his space is disorganized.
"Home organization - or the lack of it - plays a huge factor in the quality of my work and quality of life as a whole. It’s impressive how the disorganization happens so fast and before you know it, you have a cluttered table, papers all around the house, 3 or 4 mugs near your computer, and all that visual pollution affects my creativity & concentration", says Vasconcelos.
Getting your place in order
To prevent clutter from building up it helps to put in place organizational systems. Having a spot for everything will make you feel calmer and ready to tackle any project that comes your way. There are some things you can do to make your space more functional, and simply being aware of your habits is the first step to create and keep an organized space.
Categorize your space
If you need to keep a phone charger, headphones, and other equipment nearby, try to keep it in the same area of your office (preferably contained). If you use your printer a lot, you can create a print station with papers, inks, envelopes, and everything else you need to print and mail stuff. That way, you know, without even having to think about, where things should go back to after you use them.
Create a mail/paper station
If you know that you tend to let papers pile up, go through every piece of paper in your office and decide if they need to be shredded, tossed, filed, or requires action like sending an e-mail, making a phone call, etc. To avoid papers from pilling, make a decision and take action as soon as you get the paper in your hands.
Create a routine
If you are that person who always has a beverage while working, get into the habit of only using one mug throughout the day. Every time you go to the coffee machine, take your mug with you. The same if you are getting water. By the way, you could try a refillable water bottle, rather than getting a new glass every time you want to drink water.
Make use of vertical space
Not everybody has a dedicated space for a home office, so if you are working out of a desk without ample storage, utilize your vertical space. Putting up shelves with some baskets and boxes to organize and categorize your stationery is a great and cheap way to utilize a space.
I hope these tips can help you start organizing your space, optimizing your routine and making yourself more aware of how that innocent clutter around your home can make you feel.
If you want more tips on how to organize your home, your routine and increase productivity, let me know in the comments below.
If you really want to create an organized home that's easy to maintain for the long term, our upcoming seminar is exactly what you want! Check it out here
About the author: Carol is a journalist, currently earning a Master’s Education in Positive Psychology. She has a passion for all things organization and has been working as a professional organizer for the past 6 years, helping families and individuals live a more purposeful and productive life.