We live in a time of more. More news to follow, more stuff to buy, more apps for your iPhone, even more options for the type of milk in your coffee.
But “more” can be distracting. That’s why at SimplePractice we’re constantly looking for ways we can simplify the world around us. The art of simplicity is knowing what to take away.
That cluttered desk is dumbing you down.
If your office or your desk is cluttered it is affecting your brain’s ability to process information. It’s causing distraction and literally making you act less intelligent. Think that sounds ridiculous? Well, there’s science to show this is true.
Simplifying is hard. It’s more than just re-organizing. It’s learning how to reduce. Our environment accumulates clutter because most of us aren’t very good at getting rid of stuff. Many of us look at those perfectly organized desks in magazines or on Pinterest and think that’s just a fantasy. It’s not. It’s really not. The reason it’s not just a fantasy is because most of the stuff in and on your desk isn’t really necessary.
If you want to simplify your office you need to commit to the idea. It’s going to be tempting to keep everything, otherwise you would have chucked it long ago. Once you’re committed, go get a large bag you can take to Goodwill and then start evaluating all the items in your cluttered space. For each item, ask these 4 questions to decide if you really need to keep it:
– Does this item have a purpose for me?
– Is this item redundant?
– Is it outdated?
– When was the last time I used it?
1) Does this item have a purpose?
One of the biggest items to fail this test are desk nicknacks. The desk is for work things. nicknacks and sentimental items are there for display, so put them in a place that’s appropriate like on a shelf or in a book case or else get rid of them outright. Just get them out of your workspace. They are clutter.
You probably also have random items you’ve accumulated like rubber cement or craft sheers that made it into your desk for some arbitrary reason. Do you really need quick access to these items in order to do your work as a health and wellness professional? Probably not. Either get rid of them or put them where they are frequently used.
2) Is this item redundant?
Sometimes we need backup items… but that’s usually for emergencies. Do you really need 3 staple removers and an entire drawer filled with pens? Remember, it’s very easy to replace or borrow office supplies. Don’t live with clutter because it’s cheaper to buy pens in bulk. Your well-being is worth a lot more than that.
3) Is it outdated?
Many times we hold onto outdated items like old printers, DVD drives or rewritable CD’s because we paid a lot of money for them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’ll be useful forever. Especially with technology items, chances are that an outdated product won’t work anyway. So save yourself the clutter and get rid of that old item sooner rather than later.
4) When was the last time you used it?
If you haven’t used something in your office for over a year, you probably don’t need it- or at least you probably don’t need it immediately on hand. Many people keep items because they think they might need them in the future. Remember there’s a cost to storing and maintaining items you don’t use. If it’s creating clutter, part of the cost is your well-being. (Remember that study earlier?)
Take the time to do this exercise throughout your office. Start with your desk, then move on to a closet or filing cabinet, or wherever else clutter may be hiding. Remember, just because clutter is out of sight, doesn’t mean that it’s not weighing on your brain. Simplify your office because it’s more than just an eye-sore, it’s affecting your well-being.
Tell us about your victories with stuff. How have you simplified your office?