Have you ever noticed what happens when you enter a cluttered or dirty space? If you are like most people, clutter and dirt affect your well being negatively. Often this is on a subconscious level. You feel uneasy but you can’t put your finger on why. The reverse is true as well. What happens when you enter a clean, organized space? You’re likely to feel more relaxed and happy. You will also be more confident in the competence and capabilities of the person or business that owns the space. And if that person is you, all the better!
Mess = Stress
It is well documented that a messy environment increases stress levels. In fact, a study done by UCLA found that: “....clutter has a profound effect on our mood and self-esteem.”
In fact, “Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives.
Fortunately, unlike other more commonly recognized sources of stress, clutter is one of the easiest life stressors to fix.” – Psychology Today
Alleviating Workplace Stress
Unfortunately, this blog can’t help you with a demanding boss or looming deadlines. But the good news is that we can help you with the stress you are creating for yourself. At least when it comes to clutter.
Here are some tips to help alleviate preventable workplace stress:
A cleared desk is a happy desk. Having stacks of papers, random office supplies scattered around, and post-it notes on everything in sight is NOT a recipe for success. Go through those stacks and post-its and get rid of everything you don’t need. Shred what you must and recycle the rest. What remains should be genuinely relevant to current projects.
Everything should have a place (and be in it!) Now that you’ve eliminated useless paper, you’ll need a system for the rest. Ideally you can organize them into hanging folders in your desk. If there is no room, then get yourself a nice desktop file holder and some fancy folders. They don’t cost much more than the manilla ones, and as a bonus they don’t look like a throwback to Office Space.
And speaking of a space for everything, remember those office supplies that were everywhere? What you need is an organizing system that is both aesthetic and useful. Try these acrylic storage containers in either silver or gold. And better yet? Invest in the whole matching set. The continuity will add a sense of unity and have a subtle calming effect.
Less Really Is More
Now that you’ve cleared your desk, apply the same approach to your office. Take a look around with fresh eyes. Do you need all the furniture in your office? Do you need all the items that have accumulated on the furniture? Get rid of anything that isn’t useful or beautiful.
And do you actually like the furniture you are using? You may not have the budget to replace everything at once, but if you start with one item at a time (and shop the consignment stores if needed - you can find great, one-of-a-kind pieces sometimes) you can usually find things that bring you joy without breaking the bank. Slowly but surely you will create a space that you enjoy being in.
The Bottom Line…
…..is that there are easy ways to reduce stress by bringing order into the workplace. And as they say, “An organized soul is a happy soul!”
(That’s a thing, right? :)