You may not realize how much a cluttered and untidy workspace can contribute to stress and lack of productivity.
Here are 40 ways to declutter, de-stress and transform your workspace into a space where you’ll enjoy spending time.
Clear It Out
- Start fresh. If you’ve got a mountain of clutter to deal with, set aside time to clear out everything, and then only add back items that you truly need and use.
- Get in the habit of putting everything in its place at the end of each day.
- Prevent clutter creep; do a “clean sweep” once a month to maintain your cleaned-up space.
- Use vertical storage options near and/or above your desk to increase your storage area and to keep things clearly visible. Think above-desk shelving, wall baskets, wall-mounted file folders and wall hooks.
- Schedule reminders for yourself to dust your computer monitor, printer and keyboard weekly.
- Keep disinfectant cleaning wipes on hand to regularly give your workspace surfaces a quick wipe-down.
- Organize unsightly computer/printer cables around your desk with DIY solutions or purchase a system.
- Store often-used items and files nearest to you and store less important stuff farther away. Pitch the things you never use.
- Keep smaller items in drawer compartments to keep everything from jumbling together.
- If you’re a “filer,” set up a simple filing system, then set aside time each day to file or toss.
- If you’re a “piler,” get paper holders or decorative boxes to contain only the important papers you want to keep in neat, easily-movable groups. Go through them periodically.
- Tame your reading material pile by quickly scan through magazines, tearing out what you want to read and recycling the rest.
- Cut down on paper clutter by filing electronically with this nifty app that turns your phone into a scanner.
- Enter business cards into your contact system immediately or scan them in, then toss; don’t throw them in a drawer to handle later.
- Ditch all the sticky notes; instead, keep track of deadlines, details and meetings with a virtual assistant app like twentyfour.me.
- Get “future projects” files off your desk. Create a “pending” email file and/or physical folder for any future projects; you’ll stay organized while containing information in one place away from your desk.
- Keep your virtual desktop as clutter-free as the rest of your space with apps like Dexpot.
- Resist saving files to your desktop, but if you must, make sure to resave them to their appropriate folders often to avoid confronting a sea of random files every time you boot up.
- Move photos and videos to the cloud using free options like Dropbox.
- Declutter your smartphone. Dump those apps you once thought were cool but you never use.
Declutter Your Inbox
- Unsubscribe to reoccurring email newsletters that you don’t read. This may take a few minutes, but in the long run it saves the time you’d waste looking at and deleting each one every time they arrive.
- Be discriminate about what new email newsletters you sign up for.
- Keep your personal and work emails separate.
- Create structured folders and apply filters to your emails to keep them organized.
- To keep your inbox clear and clutter-free, resist the urge to “flag” emails to handle later – handle now or move it to a “working” folder.
- Make it a goal to keep your inbox at zero at the end of each day, using it only as the parking lot for incoming, unread items.
- Archive your emails if you’re worried you may need them later.
De-stress Your World
- De-stress by applying some feng shui principles to your workspace, like arranging your desk for increased productivity (never have your back to the door).
- Fill your space with air purifying plants to calm stress and elevate your energy.
- When work stress builds up, remember to breathe. Need help? Try Breathe2Relax, an app that guides you through breathing exercises.
- Take a break and de-stress any time with the Happify app, which offers games and exercises to overcome negative thoughts, worry and stress.
- Give your eyes a break – look away from your computer screen often and rest your eyes on some artwork, a photograph or a plant.
- Make sure your desk, keyboard and chair are ergonomically-correct, since sitting in an uncomfortable or awkward position for hours each day can lead to muscle strain, pain and illness.
Make Your Clutter-Free, Clean Space Shine
- Cover bland cubicle surfaces and walls with colorful fabric, wallpaper or tapestries.
- Add a mirror or two to a small area, giving the illusion of space.
- Bring in a decorative pillow for your chair and a warm throw to cozy it up.
- Bring in your favorite coffee mug and a cool coaster to make coffee breaks special.
- Use your white board not only to keep organized, but also to write motivational messages and encouraging notes to yourself.
- Add some cool art to your newly de-cluttered computer desktop background.
- Let there be light! Add a lamp for a warmer ambiance or string holiday lights for a festive feel.
Do you have a favorite declutter or de-stress tip? Let us know what works for you.