Working from home can be very productive or it can be the worst thing you ever do. It can help you get ahead in your career or be your downfall. One of the biggest problems you can face when working from home is your workspace. For some, it is the actual space they need but don’t have. For others it is how their space is organized. It needs to be clutter free to help your adventure be successful.
Clutter Can Affect Your Mental Abilities
You might not realize how much clutter can affect your brain functions, but a mess can make you very unproductive. Yes, it can impede your physical work but it is huge in impacting how your brain works and even your moods. Cluttered workspace can clutter your mind as it has been noted that it could “be getting in the way of the bigger picture” as it also affects our mental functions and our moods. (What’s best on your desk? How clutter impacts productivity)
Deep down inside we all like our space to be organized. We might not be inclined to do the organizing, but most of us enjoy having an environment around us that is neat and clean. An organized space frees up our mind and allows it work more smoothly and creatively.
Now let me make a note here that clutter can be a relative term. To some people a desk might be cluttered while to someone else it is organized chaos. Some people might stress in an environment that is too neat while others can’t stand anything out of place. This article is to get your workspace to a place where you can be your most productive without the ‘clutter’ that affects you negatively.
Organization Versus Clean
Now let’s get this cleared up first. There is a difference between organized and clean. You can be completely organized and extremely unclean. Dirt and organization do not have to go together. You can also be extremely clean and very cluttered. Let’s not get these two mixed up. In this article, I’m talking about clutter and getting organized. That means things have a place and they are in their place.
I think it is obvious why your work area needs to be clean. Dirt and grime are just disgusting. It can be hazardous to your health as well as can draw bugs and rodents in. Have a trash can handy. Remove all dirty dishes. Keep your area clean.
Now we can focus on organizing.
Assess Your Workspace
Not everyone has the same needs for a workspace, but there are some needs that are pretty universal.
- Pens/Pencils — Though we use the computers and smartphones so much, there is always a need for pen and pencil in our lives. We might just jot down notes or reminders with them, but try living without them. You’d be surprised how many times you’ll go looking for one and go crazy not being able to find one.
- Lighting — Do you have adequate lighting? Never assume what you have is enough. Too many times we don’t realize how poor the lighting is. That results in headaches and straining the eyes. Have a lamp nearby in addition to any overhead lights you may have. You can always turn a light off.
- Seating — How comfortable is your chair? It might not seem important, but how you feel as you work is a major component in successfully working from home. Get a chair that is comfortable and won’t strain your back. You also need the seat that fits best in your space. Too big and it makes your space seem overly cluttered.
- Table — You need to have adequate table space for your computer and all your supplies. If you are like me and use a lot of resource material, you might need extra space to lay out books and such. For me, that means a standard computer desk is not enough.
- Storage — This is one thing you don’t think of when setting up your work at home space until you are actually working in it. Things you might need for storage include filing cabinets, bookshelves, pen holders, and anything that can store what you need. Use storage that keeps things out of site yet handy. That will help with the clutter.
Put the Plan into Action
Now that you have a better understanding of how to rid yourself of clutter in your work space, you have to put the plan of getting there into action. Look around and see where you can declutter. Write it down. Get the plan in writing and see how much you can do.
Get clutter free! So how do you go about doing it? Strategically!
Needs vs. Wants
Start off by making of list of you need to buy. Note that I said ‘need’ and not ‘want.’ What do you need to get your workspace clutter free? You might need some pencil holders, but do you need the most expensive ones? Be realistic. You might need something to hold your pens in. Does it have to be something you buy or can you use a mug for now.
For many people, money and/or time can be a factor in making purchasing decisions. You might not be able to purchase at once everything you need. What would help you the most? If you could only have one thing on your wish list to help you declutter your workspace, what would it be? Focus on that first and work your way the need list.
Now get what you need and use it. You might need to make adjustments as you go which is great. Discovery might be made that you need something different than you thought. But keep in mind that each thing you do is a move toward a clutter free workspace.