Clutter makes many people want to scream.
Piles here, piles there. And I’m not just talking about your home sweet home.
Think about your work space (and office in general) – is it…a mess?
If you just can’t keep it clean, here’s a quick look at the reasons why a clean desk can result in a more productive, fulfilling professional life.
“You never get a second chance to make first impression.”
It’s true. Ever walked into someone’s office and thought, “WOW, this place is a mess.”
Well, people might be saying that about you!
A messy office implies a disorganized person, someone who can’t handle pressure. Whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, or already at the top, the way your office looks is a direct representation of your own personal professional brand.
The things you place on your desk, even on your walls (if you can) are usually the prime area of focus when someone steps into your office. While you might be jabbering on about their question, they might be engaged in a deep though about how they would escape if all of your piles went up in flames. Protect your reputation (and your next promotion) and tidy up that space!
“A disorganized space = a disorganized mind.”
Piggybacking on the above, take a moment and think about how you feel when you go on vacation, stay in a nice hotel room, or if you have been fortunate enough, look out over the Caribbean.
No baggage from the telemarketers constantly ringing your phone, no piles of laundry from the busy week you just had, and the serenity of a calming blue. Disorganization and the piles we cant help but create can weigh your mind down, believe it or not. And, when its not given a clean slate, makes professional performance suffer.
“Neat and tidy - inside and out.”
If the desk drawers in your office resemble your family junk drawer, take a few minutes and clean them out. Just because you might have a clean desk itself, being neat and organized on the inside is just as important.
When things are in order you can find things faster, and get more done.
Maybe even reserve one of your drawers for some personal comforts to save you when you need it. Your favorite candy, some chapstick for the winter months, even some cough drops to share with the guy who wont stop hacking down the hall - a drawer apothecary is just what the doctor ordered when you need a little break, especially when we spend so much time at the office.
“Microscopically clean too!”
Let’s not forget that our desk need to be sanitized. I’m not saying you need to give everyone who walks through your office door a squirt of hand sanitizer (although it might not be a bad idea during flu season), but if you have never wiped down your keyboard, your knobs, or even your desk top itself, it might be time to consider a deep clean.
Another great habit to get into is actually cleaning out the debris that falls into your keyboard. Go ahead, hold it down by the floor and blow…gross, right?
A compressed can of air is the best way to remove all of the dust, snack crumbs, and debris that has taken residence below your keys. If you don’t have any on hand, talk to your IT folks, they know all about this secret weapon.
Let’s not forget digital organization…wait, what’s that?
Yes, you can be (and should be) digitally organized.
For starters, look at your computer desktop – are you a desktop file hoarder? Many people get in the habit of saving files directly to their desktop and rarely get around to moving them to their logical place after the fact, leaving their wallpaper* smothered with file icons. (This is also something your office visitors may notice when they come in.)
If you must save to your desktop, get in the habit of tidying up at the end of the day and put things where they belong. Also, be sure to logically name your files (especially if you are sharing them with others in your organization) and be consistent. Create desktop shortcuts to get you where you need to go, fast, so you are not always drilling through directories to find your next project.
These five things will boost your personal brand equity AND make you a smarter, more productive professional in the long run.
Now get cleaning!
What's This Mean for My Business?
These ideas are also good for your business.
A clean office is a more sanitary office. That keeps your employees healthy and in the office working, not at home sick with the flu after having gotten half of the office sick!
A neat, well-organized office is also safer. Trips, falls, and bumping into objects (like filing cabinets) are all common causes of workplace accidents. And, of course, digital files can't fall on you!
When it comes to digital organization, starting with digitizing your documents and using a document management system is a great way to begin.
*Note: If you have the luxury of a personal wallpaper choice, or even wall hanging decor, try to keep it classy.