Clutter. For a few it’s an unusual form of comfort blanket. To others it is stuff that’s going to have some kind of future use. Whilst for some it’s just too good, or was too expensive to throw away. So we hoard – and as we’ve pointed out before – hoarding can affect us in negative ways.
So in this blog we look at how clutter can affect performance and productivity at work. Whether you’re self employed, MD of your own Limited company, or gainfully employed by someone else – clutter doesn’t discriminate – we ask Can you work in clutter?
If you work in a cluttered environment, chances are you might struggle some way during your day. There are lots of reasons why clutter affects our ability to do our jobs properly. Now you might be in denial, insisting that a cluttered desk and office is just how you like things. But often – if you’re honest with yourself – you’ll know that there are ways in which it holds you back, slows you down and makes you day less straightforward.
1 – Finding things
If you read our tongue-in-cheek guide to The Piling System and thought ‘but I’ve got one of them’ – you might appreciate just how long it takes to find something in an unordered mess. It can be bye-bye customer if they phone up to settle an invoice – and it takes you 5 minutes to ‘just locate the paperwork’ with them hanging on the phone – before you can take their credit card number. Only for you then to write it on a scrap of paper that then gets lost amongst the tower of paper.
2 – Time theft (by distraction)
Stuff can be interesting. You pick up that old paper, read the October scores from the premiership in 2010 (when Man U were still good, but Chelsea won by a point) and before you know it 30 minutes have gone by. That’s time theft by distraction. It’s 30 minutes that you could have been doing some productive work. Although reminiscing about The Blues beating that team from the North is never a total waste of time…
3 – Dust, Dirt and Allergies
If your work area is cluttered then it can’t be cleaned properly – by you or anyone else (pity the poor office cleaner) – that means there will be more dirt and dust, which isn’t great for allergies and can exacerbate Asthma.
4 – Psychological Effects – Anxiety and Depression
Clutter can be part of a vicious circle. Working in clutter can contribute to a feeling of being overwhelmed, which means you get anxious and can’t concentrate. Long term anxiety can lead to depression and stress with the worse case scenario that you end up having to take tie off work.
If you’re finding some of the above chiming with you then begin with a sort and clear out. You’ll be amazed how good it’ll make you feel. And if you’ve got stuff that you definitely need to keep, can store away somewhere, but maybe don’t have the space – then we will be able to help.