When you have cleared all your clutter,
you can be of greater service to those around you.

– Michael B. Kitson

Would you be surprised performance increased and stress decreased when in an organized versus a disorganized environment according to Princeton University? The simple fact is that clutter competes for your attention. Then, when you can’t find something you feel unproductive not simply by the wasted time spent searching for the missing item, but, also, because of the frustration the misplaced item engenders in you.

Look around your work area, how would you rate yourself?

Perhaps, you’re wondering about what counts as clutter? Everything—not simply the piles on your desk; it, also, includes the files on your computer, the emails pinging their way into your consciousness, the notifications from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn  and all the other sites that you hear from again and again. You’re bombarded by clutter at every turn. You have to recognize what is going on if you ever intend to manage the constant flow of material crossing your desk.

All the chaos around you is limiting your ability to focus, think clearly and process information efficiently. In other words, it is sucking enormous chunks of time out of your calendar every single minute of every day!

The truth is that no one can be productive when working in a space that doesn’t function for them. So, start organizing your work area to meet your requirements—not anyone else’s. Begin by:

  • Eliminating any stacks of paperwork on your desk. A time management book I read did an exercise where each participant was asked to put a tick mark on the corner of the paper every time they riffled through the pile looking for a document. Take a guess at how many tick marks were recorded—100s! What a time waster shuffling through paper piles yet never actually completing anything! How many tick marks would be on the corner of your paperwork?
  • Clearing out and cleaning up. Begin today vesting small chunks of your time whether it is to reduce the piles on your desk or cleaning out the jammed up information on your computer or “unsubscribing” to unnecessary emails (Hopefully, not mine!). A little time now will save you huge amounts of time over and over again as you get organized.
  • Not getting too carried away. I’m not recommending stark, pristine, immaculate tidiness because research from the University of Minnesota reveals that messy spaces can provoke more creativity; and we all know innovation is a highly sought after skill set.

The new gift for gaining time on your calendar is to recognize what is the appropriate balance for you…. Too much clutter and you lose time because of ineffectiveness every moment of the day; and too little, you may be limiting your business inventiveness.

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