4 Areas to Declutter in Your Office

Reader Contribution by Ashley Houk
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Spring has sprung and that means its Spring Cleaning time! Although not everyone is keen on this annual tradition, ensuring that your work and living spaces are free from clutter will create a more positive environment—externally and internally.

Recent studies from UCLA and Princeton have shown that clutter can increase stress levels, influence mood and decrease focus. Most of us have experienced these outcomes: Whether it’s a sink full of dirty dishes distracting you from your checkbook or a table littered with assorted papers irritating you. Clutter and chaos won’t help you actually make progress on projects or any tasks at hand.

When considering your professional goals, organization is crucial for achieving them. Forbes suggests keeping your work space as clean as possible. Keep lesser used items in drawers or displayed on shelves for easy access.

Photo by Unsplash/Tran Mau Tri Tam.

Clean Surfaces

Use disinfectant wipes to clean your desk, keyboard, phone, mouse and other often-touched surfaces that are likely to harbor a number of germs from the winter season. Don’t forget to clean your computer screen with a microfiber cloth or electronics wipes, along with any other office appliances you use regularly (i.e. printers, calculators, etc).

Inbox Upkeep

Digital clutter is just as prevalent as real-life clutter, and email is likely your main form of communication while at work. If a message can be answered quickly or requires your immediate attention, answer it. If the message doesn’t pertain to you or isn’t something you need to save, it can be deleted.

There are, of course, emails that need to be held on to for the future. Create an inbox folder system that works for you to keep track of your important, save-for-later correspondence. Once you’ve responded, file them away in their appropriate location to keep your inbox (and your brain!) from becoming overwhelmed.

Get Organized

From your physical desktop to the one on your computer, organize your space to maximize your productivity.

• Back-up any old files you need to keep for future reference, but that aren’t used on a regular basis.
• Remove any unnecessary files and programs from virtual desktop.
• Create a filing system for physical papers you need to keep track of.
• Organize your incoming mail to make it easier to attend to daily. Create inboxes for different types of mail you receive or based on priority.
• Keep the things you use, every day, within easy reach on your desk so you never have to go searching for them again.

Calendar Clean-Up

One area you probably wouldn’t even think of adding to your spring cleaning list is your ever-useful calendar, so why bother? Oftentimes, appointments and meetings get rescheduled or canceled, but don’t ever get removed from your calendar.

• If you have regular reminders, like “go to the gym,” in your weekly calendar, consider removing them. These are great when you’re getting started on any routine, but after awhile it becomes second nature and the reminders don’t really serve a purpose anymore.
• Merge your various calendars together so you can see all your appointments in one place. This will help you avoid double-booking.
• Color-code appointments, meetings, and personal engagements so they’re easy to find at a glance. Plus, it will make things a little more appealing to look at!