Tips for de-cluttering your workspace

I’m a typical “type A” person: a highly-strung, controlling neat freak who simply cannot work in a cluttered space. As a result, my desk is usually in pretty good order, but at the start of the year, I made a conscious decision to change things up. I wanted to refine the system I had, move things around, and generally see if the changes I made would contribute to a shift in my mindset as I prepared to enter intense work mode again after a break.

If you can relate to this at all, then you might benefit from my tips to clear your desk in order to clear your mind and create a productive space that I’m almost certain leads to a more productive life.

1. Less is more

One of the most important things I’ve found in creating an organised space is to ensure I keep only the necessities on my desk, and I’ve recently gone from using a set of organisational drawers filled to the brim with papers and stationary to a single cardboard file-holder and a ceramic pot for pens. It’s easy to feel like we should fill every available surface with the volumes of stuff we think we might needwhen in reality, taking the time to consciously choose the items that we actually reach for every day means that we aren’t burdening ourselves with unnecessary clutter. For extra detail or a personal touch, add a candle, or a vase of fresh flowers. This can help transform a busy, negative space into a calming one that allows for maximum productivity and creative flow.

2. Create a system

Part of what dissuades us from tidying our space is how daunting a task it can seem, as the thought of having to sort through piles of papers, unpaid bills, and unfilled forms is enough to make you stop before you even start. In reality, the process of sorting through these items one at a time can be incredibly therapeutic and helps you to feel more in control of the various aspects of your life. I chose to divide my things into categories: work/study, bills/finances, medical, and personal/receipts/other. Through creating this distinct separation, I feel less intimidated by each individual task and find I am able to better compartmentalise the various tasks that need doing.

3. Commit

Part of what makes organisation work is committing to the system you’ve created and tidying it often. That doesn’t mean you need to start every week by sorting through the entire contents of your desk, but if you ever feel like you can’t remember where you put something, or whether you still have that receipt or that bill stored away somewhere, it probably means it’s time for a re-fresh. Don’t be overwhelmed. Staying on top of an organised system is relatively stress-free once the system is in place and may require only the occasional refurbishing, and remember, you don’t have to settle for what you’ve created. Mix it up and find what works for you.

Tagged in What messes with your head, Wellbeing, organisation, Student life, study, workspace