It’s that time of year again…spring cleaning is upon us and it’s not just an at home activity, it also applies to the workplace! Whether you are back to working in an offsite office space again or you are still in the swing of the work from home life, spring cleaning can refresh your space and boost your productivity in the process.
It is not uncommon to let papers pile up on your desk, dust to gather around your workspace and drawers to become cluttered. Once your space is messy, it can feel like such a chore to return things to harmony that the chaos is often avoided. Rather than add another task to an already long to-do list, we think, why should I clean and organize? Well, let’s talk about the “why”…
“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it,
it is not all mixed up. “
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”
Many successful and productive people have figured out the benefits of a clean and tidy space. The investment of time that you put into organizing is returned to you, with an added bonus. You will no longer waste time looking for a particular client folder or an important document that you printed out and thought you left in a special spot on your desk, only to have been buried by more papers or miscellaneous items. When every item in your space has a “home”, meaning it has a space, whether in a drawer or on a surface, where it belongs, this makes keeping yourself tidy much easier. Simply follow the blueprint that you’ve created and ensure all papers and items return to their home when you are done using them or at the end of each workday. Being able to find something right when you need it saves you time and energy.
In addition to saving yourself time, being tidy also allows your mind to focus on work. Whether unnoticed or noticed, our brain makes an overwhelming number of micro decisions every day. Starting from the moment we wake up. What should I wear today? What should I eat for breakfast? Should I tie my left shoe first or my right? Again, the brain is deciding, even if this goes unnoticed to our conscious mind, as our unconscious mind will take over for tasks that are very familiar (such as tying shoes, driving the same route to work, etc.). With our mind always working overtime, when it comes time to sit down and focus on a specific project, having a clear workspace with minimal distractions does wonderful things for productivity. The less clutter surrounding you, the more you can hone in on your computer screen, document, notebook or any task you happen to be working on.
If boosting your productivity and saving you time isn’t enough motivation, a clean and organized space also makes a good impression on clients and co-workers. Feeling convinced but don’t know where or how to begin? Don’t fret, we have compiled some tips for spring cleaning your workspace:
This seems pretty simple…because it is! Organizing your space will inevitably kick up a long of dust. Let’s just handle that right off the bat. Cleaning doesn’t require as much thought as organizing, so it’s a great way to get the ball rolling and feel some immediate satisfaction of results. Really go for it, pull your desk away from the wall (if applicable) and vacuum behind it. Pick up every item on your surfaces and wipe them down. Wipe the tops of any piles of books or files that may be sitting around gathering dust. GET IN THERE.
2. SCHEDULE TIMING THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Make sure that you plan this out so that it is an achievable task within your current schedule. For some, this may mean blocking off a day to get it all done in one fell swoop. For others, this may mean blocking off 30 minutes increments every day, a few days a week and so on. You know your schedule and your mental energy the best, so tailor the timing for yourself. The important part here is to schedule this task. The same way that you would schedule a zoom meeting or a workout class…and then don’t skip it! Keep yourself accountable.
3. FOCUS ON ONE AREA OR CATEGORY AT A TIME
Organizing can be overwhelming if you try to think about the entire process at once. Instead, focus your attention on one small area or one full category at a time. So, maybe start with your top drawer. Keep your focus here by taking everything out. Clean the inside of the drawer. Sort the items and toss any trash or get rid of anything you no longer need. Place everything you want to keep back into the drawer in an intentional way. BOOM, progress. As far as categories go, paperwork is one full category that may be strewn about all over your office and shoved in different drawers. You should gather all of your papers together and sort them into categories. Get rid of anything you don’t need anymore (toss or shred) and then, file the rest away! Make sure to label your file folders.
4. SATISFY YOUR SENSES
Depending on your personality type, you may find your mind fighting the process. Satisfying some of your senses may help to combat this mind chatter. Light a nice smelling candle or some incense, put on some relaxing music or even a favorite podcast. Keep a snack nearby and reward yourself every time you finish a “section”.
5. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM
Having some outside accountability can be really helpful and motivating. Evaluate your circle of co-workers, friends or family and consider asking one or more people (who you think will actually participate) if they want to spring clean with you. They will clean their own space and you will clean your own, but you can check in with one another on progress updates and hold each other accountable for your end goals.
6. REWARD YOURSELF
A rewards-based system is a good system. Set your end goals for spring cleaning and decide on a reward for yourself upon completion. Maybe you want a laptop case, a new work bag, a new piece of art or fun knickknack for your desktop or maybe you just want to order a nice dinner and some dessert to celebrate…find something that you really love and will feel motivated to work towards.
7. HAVE A DEADLINE
Even if you are only able to carve out small increments every week to clean and organize, make sure you set a deadline during the planning process. This will help to ensure you finish the project, instead of just starting it and leaving it unfinished.
Once you have achieved your end goal, AKA you are super clean and organized, keep it up! Set aside 5 minutes at the end of each workday to file papers and put items back in their “homes”. This will prevent a larger mess from piling up again and keep you organized for the long haul.
There you have it, a road map for spring cleaning that will be sure to leave you feeling refreshed, reenergized and productive. Good luck and happy organizing!!