Elizabeth Bowman HeadshotBy Elizabeth Bowman

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year?  Was one of them to be more organized?  How is it going so far?  We each have good intentions, but as usual, life happens.  We get busy.  Even the best of intentions can take a back seat to a busy schedule.  Setting aside time to get organized is typically the hardest part and can get lost in the daily shuffle easily. Before you know it, your New Year’s resolution gets put away with the fitness equipment.

There’s a reason being organized is a common resolution that people make; it comes with numerous benefits and can greatly enhance your ability to be productive and live the life you want!  Let’s start with a space many of us spend large chunks of time: the desk.  Here are 5 reasons to keep your desk clear of clutter this year:

Better Time Management

When your desk is clear of clutter, things are easier to find.  You’re not wasting time sifting through piles or wondering if an important document accidently got caught up in the stack of papers you just shredded.  According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, the average employee spends 400 hours per year searching for paper documents.  That’s 10 weeks!  Time is precious and keeping your desk sorted and organized will allow you to accomplish tasks and use your time wisely instead of wasting time searching for things.

Improved Focus

Have you been in a conversation with someone who is trying to recall something, and as they’re trying to recall, they close their eyes?  Scientists say the reason we close our eyes is to remove outside stimulus, allowing us to concentrate and remember.  Clutter is distracting.  Removing this distraction from your desk means you can concentrate on other things–important things–like your clients, your projects, your (insert your important thing here).

Enhanced Productivity

Let’s face it, even those of us who love the work we do don’t want to be sitting at our desk longer than we have to.  The time we save by having an organized desk with each item in its place becomes time that can be spent completing tasks and projects and getting ahead.  What will you do with all of this new found time?  Whether you choose to stay at your desk or not, the bottom line is an organized and clutter-free workspace allows you to get more done.

Reduced Stress

It’s 8:58 am and you have a conference call at 9, but you can’t find the sticky note with the conference call number.  You swear you set it on your desk, or was it on top of that stack of folders?  Or did you set it beside your cell phone?  Wait, where’s your cell phone?  Uh oh, it’s 8:59 am.  You frantically move piles from one side of the desk to the other, but alas, no number.  It is now 9 am.  Gulp!  We have all had those stressful moments–some more than others–but it is avoidable!  Having an organized desk is your best defense against moments like these and the unnecessary stress they create.

Professional and Reliable Appearance

Appearances make impressions, and a desk that is organized and uncluttered is going to leave a positive and lasting impression. Clients and colleagues will feel confident when working with you because they can see you’ve got it together. For those of you who work from home or have a desk that no one but yourself sees, your desk’s appearance makes an impression on you too. When your desk is uncluttered and organized, you feel uncluttered and organized!

Perhaps you noticed a pattern above. Better time management leads to improved focus, leading to enhanced productivity and therefore reducing your stress because you’re getting things done. Ultimately your organized desk leaves a professional and reliable impression not only on clients and colleagues, but also yourself. I hope at least one of the above reasons inspires you to set aside some time to organize and de-clutter your desk. If your desk is overwhelmingly cluttered start small. Set aside 10 minutes a day and choose one section of your desk to clean up. If you keep at it, by the end of the week, your desktop may be able to see the light of day!

For more tips on organizing your desk and being more productive, download Innovatively Organized’s Paper Management webinar.

To read more tips from Innovatively Organized and organizing and productivity expert, Elizabeth Bowman, check out the Innovatively Organized blog, where new tips and tricks are posted regularly.  Innovatively Organized is a Seattle-based organizing and productivity firm that provides effective organizing solutions for busy professionals, teams, and families to better manage their time, increase productivity, and gain control of their spaces. You can contact Elizabeth Bowman via email at elizabeth@innovativelyorganized.com, twitter at @iOrganized or visit her website at www.InnovativelyOrganized.com.

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