Four Tips to Organizing Your Workspace for Better Productivity

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars


We’ve all been there – you walk into work and the first thing you see is a chaotic desk full of important papers, sticky notes, yesterday’s coffee mug and a cluttered email inbox. How can anyone be productive in this type of workspace? While research recently revealed those with messy desks could in fact be geniuses, this unfortunately doesn't apply to everyone.

Studies show the average person wastes approximately four hours a week searching for paper and the average executive loses an hour of productivity a day searching for missing information. The thought of having to organize the mess can often be overwhelming, leaving you to avoid the much-needed cleanup.

For those of you who are ready to say goodbye to the mess piling on your desk, here are four easy tips to achieving workspace organization and improving performance at work.

What do you actually use in your office? Probably just a small fraction of what is looming on your desk. Ask yourself, “Have I used this in the last six months?” If your answer is no, throw that clutter in the trash. We aren’t saying to get rid of everything you use, but be honest with yourself about your use of certain items and if they are worth taking up space.

Remember that your office space is probably limited – so every inch counts. Once you eliminate the clutter, it will be easier to organize the things you use frequently. See if there is a more functional way to rearrange the layout of your office. A change of scenery could get you excited to go to work and increase your motivation.

Once you’ve decluttered your physical space, take a dive into your digital space. Is your desktop full of folders and random files? It’s important to only keep supplies and gadgets that you use daily on your desktop. Try creating folders that correspond with the files you use most.

At the end of each day, make a point to organize your files to increase productivity the next morning. Be sure to delete duplicate files and move dated information to Dropbox (or, if you’re old school, a thumb drive) to get the information off your hard drive. With everything living online, keep a hard copy in case your trusty technology backfires on you.

Although we hold most of our information online, it seems paper copies fill our desk daily. Establishing a filing system can be very beneficial when trying to retrieve an important document. There is no right or wrong way to do this, but tailoring your system to your work style is the key to increasing productivity.

You can file alphabetically, by project or by client. Keep it consistent by using the same titles and filing system you have on your computer, making it easier to find files in a flash. Scan old documents onto your computer or an external hard drive, so that you can eliminate any excessive papers from your workspace.

You spend most of your time at the office, so why not make it feel like home? Adding a personal touch to your desk or cubicle can make your space feel more welcoming and less like a place you’re forced to visit daily. For starters, picture frames, small plants, motivational quotes and a personalized calendar are all ways to make you feel more at home while at work. However, be sure to keep it simple and sweet, as to not add to the clutter you are trying to eliminate.

When the days get busier, it’s hard to remember to take time for yourself and your productivity. Taking the first step to organizing your office space is the easiest way to increase your motivation and creativity. Following these easy four steps is a good start to eliminating clutter and the first step to keep your workspace clean.