How Decluttering Your Workspace Will Boost Your Output

Clutter. It’s the white noise of every office space and the Achilles’ heel of many leaders. Think about the places clutter creeps into your life and how it affects you.

  • Your dresser top is a mess—you’re five minutes late getting out the door.
  • Your mobile phone is jammed with texts—your hit reply to the wrong message.
  • Your inbox is overflowing—you can’t find the receipts from last month.
  • Your voicemail is full—you’re missing messages.

Clutter is like sand in your shoes. A little bit is inevitable. But if not dealt with, it will grind your progress to a halt.

The good news is that you can take control of your time, attention, and productivity simply by clearing the debris from your various workspaces.

Here’s how to boost your productivity by decluttering your life.

  1. Use an Integrated Calendar, Task, and Communications System.

There are dozens of these, and anyone using Microsoft office suite has one, Outlook, built in. Be sure that it will sync across all your devices, and put all your appointments, to-do’s, and reminders in one place.

Still using paper? That’s no problem. A paper system still works, just be sure to keep all aspects of your self-management integrated.

  1. Delete, Delete, Delete.

Electronic clutter is still clutter. Don’t let electronic trash crowd your view every time you interact with your computer or smartphone. Delete old messages right away, or file them. Keep your computer desktop clear.

  1. Get to Inbox Zero and Stay There.

If you have old email messages cluttering your inbox, you’re probably wasting several minutes several times a day by re-making the same old decision: “Should I reply to this now?” Limit the number of times you check your email each day, and practice the two minute rule. If you can reply in two minutes, do it now. If it will take longer, file the email and come back to it later. Don’t let a long list of old messages steal your momentum every time you open your laptop.

  1. Develop a Filing System

If you need the item (paper or electronic), file it. If not, throw it away. Don’t let mail, memos, receipts, books, coupons, cords, or gadgets occupy the valuable real estate on your desktop, laptop or car seat. Do you need a good cloud-based filing system? Try Dropbox or Evernote, both free.

It’s hard to walk with sand in your shoes, and it’s impossible to be productive with clutter crowding your workspaces. Clear it during the morning and you’ll get more done in the afternoon, I promise.

Those are some decluttering ideas that have worked for me. What works for you? I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter!