We’ve all had a boss or a manager who had a real thing about getting everyone to tidy their desks. Whilst no one likes to look across their department and see piles of paperwork strewn across desks, these types of demands can often seem a little unreasonable.
There’s plenty of work to be done and deadlines are fast approaching, so how can they justify asking you to spend half an hour on what seems like tidying up. Well, maybe they had a point all along?
What Allows You to Focus?
When you want to power through your work and have one of those days where everything seems to happen effortlessly in slow motion there’s one word you need: Focus. When you focus your mind fully on the task at hand you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you become. Not only will every task require less effort and be done to a higher standard, but you’ll also be able to get loads more done.
The secret to focusing lies in ensuring you have everything you need for the task at hand, and nothing more. It’s this second part which is the key here. When you’re surrounded by paperwork, post it notes, coffee cups, and whatever else your desk plays host to your brain will become distracted much more easily. So, just how strict do you need to be with things?
Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind
This is a phrase that we’ve all no doubt had drummed into us over the years, but it’s not without its merits. Your desk is an extension of your work in that it’s where you sit and concentrate. If you have stuff scattered everywhere then you’re not only more likely to become distracted, you can also become overwhelmed.
Imagine you’re writing a report and someone has asked you to revisit something you wrote in an earlier piece of work. No problem, you’ll just pull it up, refresh your memory and then put pen to paper. Wrong! If you have everything you’ve ever done piled in front of you and stuffed into your drawers then what should be a quick 30 second refresher can easily turn into 15 minutes of paper shuffling and fiddling about.
Nobody’s saying you have to be a neat freak, but little and often is the way to stay on top of things.
The Last 5 Minutes
When you’re actually working it’s fine if you have stuff spread out on your desk because you’re using it at that moment. What you want to do instead of keeping a constantly tidy desk is to put everything away neat and tidy in the last 5 minutes of the day.
This has two significant benefits. Firstly you can ensure you never get behind on the housekeeping, and secondly it gives you the chance to leave a quick to do list on your desk that will be the only thing you leave out overnight. This is perfect for ensuring you can pick up where you left off tomorrow, rather than having to sift through yesterday’s ad hoc filing system.