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Since the pandemic hit, working from home has seen a massive spike in popularity. The initial reasons were obvious. The social distancing mandates pretty much ruled out coming into the office, meaning work from home was, in many cases, the only option.
But as time went on and restrictions on in-person activities eased, many workers continued to work remotely. They found that working from home was more convenient and that they could perform their duties just as easily from a home office as they could elsewhere.
Couple that with a surge of people starting their own remote small businesses and reconnecting with their old hobbies like sewing, playing video games, and more.
Suddenly, the home office became extremely popular.
However, for many, working from home is a much messier situation than they’re used to. Without coworkers in their space, they don’t feel the pressure to keep everything tidy. Unfortunately, this habit can have a serious impact on productivity.
That messy workspace may be holding you back from getting the most out of your day.
Here are three ways that a cluttered desk makes you less productive
1. Clutter is Distracting
You may think the various bits and bobs surrounding your computer aren’t impacting you, but they are.
Clutter around your desk grabs your eye. You may be in the middle of a project when suddenly the green of a granola bar wrapper or the bright red of a stress ball pulls your attention away.
While that may seem insignificant, these distracting moments interrupt your train of thought, making it harder for you to enter into a flow state.
When you return your attention to your work, you have to reengage with the thought pattern you were in prior to the distraction. This is significantly more difficult than simply maintaining attention and can result in you losing some of your best ideas.
When your desk stays cluttered, these distractions repeatedly happen over the course of the day. The result: you get less done and may even lose some of your most creative ideas.
2. Increases Stress
Even if you’re able to keep your eyes on your computer all day, just knowing your desk is cluttered can raise your stress levels.
Workers surrounded by clutter report feeling more stressed and less satisfied with their work. This increased stress can result in worse moods, less motivation, and brain fog, all of which hold you back from being your most productive.
Additionally, prolonged stress and dissatisfaction can result in burnout. Burnout is a state of exhaustion that typically requires an extended break from work to resolve. This is obviously bad for productivity, not to mention your overall well-being.
3.Clutter Makes You Feel Less In-Control
Finally, clutter can undermine your self-confidence and self-efficacy.
Desk clutter tends to result from the accumulation of random junk. It’s typically not a deliberate choice, but the absence of regular desk cleaning. Your workspace becomes a monument to inertia.
Working in a littered space slowly makes you feel less in control. Your brain writes your cluttered desk off as something you can’t fix.
That mental shift, while small, extends into your work and everyday life, creating pockets of doubt in your abilities and ultimately holding you back from being maximally productive.
Tidy Up That Desk
You may think your cluttered desk isn’t a big deal, but the impacts it can have on your productivity can hold you back in your career and hobbies.
Cleaning your desk regularly will help you feel capable and focused. That’s why creating a clean, inspiring space is one of the top productivity tips for business owners. You’ll face less resistance to your work, stay engaged, and bring your best to your projects.
So if your desk is already neat and organized, keep it that way. If not, take a few minutes to clear out the clutter. The benefits may surprise you.