Have a good look at your work space. Is it a flourishing environment where you feel productive and in control? Or is the chaos of a disorganised office leaving you stressed and overwhelmed?
If it’s the latter, your work environment may be causing you to suffer in more ways than you realise.
Consider the areas below – if any resonate with you, it’s time for action.
1. Money: Would you knowingly throw a handful of hard-earned cash out the window? Of course not. Yet, it’s surprising how we sabotage ourselves financially when things get lost and forgotten.
If there’s too much clutter in the way, it’s not difficult for bills or fines to go missing and late charges to rack up. That’s money out of pocket. Plus, it’s difficult to claim expenses without receipts, or deposit reimbursement cheques if buried. That’s money never seen.
2. Time: Two minutes here, ten minutes there, it all adds up. Those minutes lead to untold hours. When we wade through clutter and stacks of papers, shifting things back and forth several times a day, it slows us down and eats up valuable work time.
How often does our coveted personal time take the hit as we then scramble to recoup those lost working hours?
3. Productivity: Good solid productivity requires focus while we work. But it’s challenging to achieve when the visual noise is blaring. A dishevelled work space calls on our attention and dilutes our focus.
When items, documents, systems, etc aren’t orderly or clear in your office, they won’t be orderly or clear in your mind either. You’ll be too distracted by the mayhem surrounding you to be fully present and productive in your current task.
4. Confidence: As capable, competent professionals, we strive to ‘keep it all together’ and ‘be on top of things’. However, over time, inefficiencies caused from a disorganised space can chip away at us, making us feel out of control. These effects can erode confidence and even damage our reputation.
Missing deadlines, opportunities, appointments, following-up, etc. all contribute to the downward spiral.
5. Stress: Work itself is plenty stressful, let alone navigating through an obstacle course to get it done. The daily chaos feeds frustration and contributes to unnecessary stress, taking its toll on your mental, emotional, and physical health.
If you feel your energy dip or your anxiety rise at the sight of your desk, this is a real indicator that something needs to change.
The good news is, a disorganised office doesn’t have to take you down with it. Here are a few action steps to help you fight back:
- Do not beat yourself up, just start from where you are.
- Spend a few minutes in your office outside of working hours when you can concentrate and make a plan. Think divide and conquer.
- Create a system for handling current and future work coming in, so it doesn’t mix with the existing melee. Schedule time daily, say an hour, to work through the remaining backlog.
- Be sure to create a home for safe-keeping of important items that tend to disappear.
- Remove everything from your desk except what you’re working on. Easier to be productive when all you have to focus on is the only thing in front of you.
It will take time, discipline and a dose of tenacity, but the rewards of your efforts will be well worth it.
Final thought: Don’t despair when you stumble upon something that missed your attention, it’s water under the bridge. Let it go freely and look forward to the next opportunity coming down the pike.