We, at Unroll.Me, have spent so much time talking about how to get yourselves, and our homes ready for spring that we lost sight of the place you spend most of your waking day: the office. I know, the last thing anyone wants to focus a ton of energy on is the cleanliness of their office, but the truth is, having a clean space to work has immense positive effects on your overall work experience.
Having a messy desk may not destroy your productivity in an obvious way, but the subtle toll it takes is impossible to ignore. Think about it like your bedroom; the clothes strewn all about may not hinder your ability to sleep, or get dressed, but they plant a seed of dread and discomfort in the back of your mind that will grow and grow until one day you throw your hands up, clear your schedule, and clean the ever-loving sh*t out of your room. The same is true for your desk.
A messy work station every day is no way to increase your productivity. You spend too much time either trying to tidy things up or searching the piles of papers and garbage for whatever it is you’re looking for. Remember Wall-E, the adorable little robot tasked with searching towers of garbage for any organic life? Well, that’s you, and the post-dystopian trash-filled landscape is your desk.
Cleaning is hard. It takes time and there are so many things that we think we might need in the future that we just can’t bring ourselves to throw away. Well, I hate to break it to you but as difficult as it may be, it’s time to gather all the stuff you don’t absolutely need and throw it away (or at least file it away in a disciplined, well-organized manner).
You ready? You and I are going to clean your desk together, one step at a time. No excuses.
TAKE AN INVENTORY
Look around your desk, do a quick scan and separate everything into two categories: keep and trash. Everything that can go, should go. Period. Everything else? Well that’s up to you. Need it? Keep it. Don’t? Learn to say goodbye.
We eat at our desks every now and again, it happens, and that could mean nibbling on a snack or going all out with a meal, but no matter how much we nibble on, the mess is never too far away.
It’s one thing to have papers lying around and cluttering your desk, but its another to have crumbs, wrappers, and containers stacking up. Not only does it make your work space less workable but it’s gross. Your coworkers can deal with you bringing food to eat (except sardines…leave those at home, please, for the love of god), but keeping the trash around for days afterwards? That’s a bridge too far. Clean your space, not only for you, but for those you work with. No one wants to smell four-day-old lasagna, or see the mold growing on last week’s chicken sandwich. This is an office, not a middle school science class.
It’s nice to have nice things and I mean, if your job offers you a chance to get more computer screens, or a printer at your desk, or any other fun gadget you might need (read: want) you’re obviously going to say yes, but be weary. More isn’t always better.
More stuff isn’t inherently bad, but its not inherently good either. As with everything in life, it’s all relative. Clutter at your desk creates clutter everywhere else . . . not to mention headaches.
Just like with the papers lying around your desk, take an inventory of your stuff, electronic and otherwise, and decide if you really need it. If you don’t, strip your space down to a minimum and reap the positive benefits. They are aplenty. It’s a tired, old cliché, but when it comes to your desk, less is more.
Until next time – nice desk.