Do you work mostly from a desk, whether at home or in an office? If so, take a look at it. Do you see a nice clear surface with only necessary papers and stationary or do you see chaos?

You may already know that a tidy work space can promote higher productivity and clutter can increase distraction and anxiety so here are a few tips on keeping your work space (and mind!) as clear as possible.

Shred, Shred, Shred – If you have bits of paper on your desk that have been there, un-looked at, for more than two weeks then it is quite probably of no use to you. Either file it appropriately or bin it. If you decide to file it consider scanning it and filing it on your computer so that the hard copy can be disposed of. This will make it easier to find if you do need it again and give you more physical space in your working area.

Labels – If you make use of draws or trays to store documents etc make sure they are labelled so that you are able to tidy everything away in an organised manner (preferably by the end of each day). If everything has its place it will prevent you from losing anything important and will also give any customers coming to your office a good first impression of your standards of work.

Organise by importance – Colour code the labels on your draws or trays so you know what needs to be dealt with urgently and what you can be a bit more relaxed about. This will also help prioritise your tasks giving you a nice clear view of what needs to be done.

Storage boxes – There will always be folders of documents that you are reluctant to get rid of completely or, by law, you can’t but if you don’t need to access them regularly, store them. This will free up space in your office for folders that you do refer to on a weekly or daily basis.

Stop with the sticky notes! – This is a hard one for a lot of people but try to reduce your use of sticky notes. They are messy and often end up in places they shouldn’t be leaving you wondering what they actually mean. If you need reminders, use a computer/phone based calendar that will send you alerts when you need to action something.

End each day as you’d like the next to start – If you take the time to make sure that your desk is clear by the end of each day you will feel much more relaxed when you go in the next morning. If you are reluctant to get rid of paper trays on your desk consider having just one for things that need to be prioritised. This way, when you arrive at your desk each morning you will know exactly where to start (after the coffee that is!)

Do you have any top tips for keeping a clutter free work space? We’d love to hear them.

Tips for a clearer work space and mind