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Frustrated female employee sits at cluttered workspace

7 Ways a Cluttered Workspace Is Hurting Your Productivity

What if the things you thought made you happy at work were actually hurting your productivity

Most of us who work at desk jobs find it tempting to decorate our desks with little touches, including family photos or practical additions, such as calendars and notepads. Over time, however, you may end up with a cluttered desk and even an entirely cluttered office. 

It’s easy to think that a cluttered office is, at worst, a bit of an eyesore. In reality, clutter is killing your productivity in a number of unexpected ways. Which ways, you ask? Keep reading to find out! 

1. Clutter Distracts You 

Here’s some irony: Clutter usually begins with office workers wanting to make their desks a bit less boring so they can stay energized and enthusiastic. However, some workers are so successful in this endeavor that they create a desk cluttered enough that it goes right past “not boring” and becomes “downright distracting.” 

No matter how smart you are or how great a worker you are, your brain can only process so much information at once. When you have plenty of things on your desk and around your office, it can be difficult to focus on any one thing for very long. The final result is that you end up getting less work done and the work you do perform will be worse due to your lack of focus. 

2. Clutter Makes You Waste Time 

One of the most direct ways a messy desk leads to you getting fewer things done is that it wastes your time. Eventually, you’ll be spending way too much time looking for the things you need when you really need them, which can make customer calls last longer

For example, let’s say that you really need to find simple things like a calculator or notebook. If there is enough junk scattered around your office, you might spend minutes (or longer) looking for it. This adds up throughout the day, week, and month, and it may make you one of the lowest-performing workers in your office. 

3. Killing Your Motivation with Clutter 

By now, you’ve probably figured out that productivity is mostly a mental game. In short, if you feel like you can get a lot accomplished, you probably will. The reverse holds true, though: If you aren’t confident in your abilities, very little will get done. 

If your office space is overly messy and has junk all over the place, it will be difficult to find the motivation to get much done. Even on a subconscious level, you may start to see a disorganized workspace as a sign of a disorganized mind. By cleaning things up, you can improve your focus and dive back into your career

4. The Death of Your Creativity 

Whether you realize it or not, your ability to get plenty of things done at work hinges on how creative you are. Each day brings with it a unique set of challenges, and the best workers are those who find creative ways to tackle these challenges. 

However, when you are overwhelmed by the sight of so many distractions around your office, it’s difficult to be creative, and that inevitably hurts your performance as a worker. By the way, if you have any doubts about how clutter and distractions affect creativity, just think about the number of writers and artists that go to parks and libraries to get work done because these areas are free of distractions. 

Young woman sits behind neat desk with headphones on

5. Clutter May Lead to Stress and Anxiety 

Here’s a little secret that most workers haven’t realized: Multi-tasking at work is often counterintuitive unless you really know how to do it. A surefire way to make sure that none of your tasks are completed with the speed and quality you were hoping for is splitting your focus between many different tasks. 

What does this have to do with clutter? In short, a cluttered desk overstimulates your brain in the same way that multitasking does, making you feel there is always something else you need to do (in this case, clean your desk) on top of your current assignments. Over time, this leads to stress and anxiety that further hinders your ability to complete important tasks. 

6. Your Desk and Your Self-Confidence 

Everyone has heard the old saying that “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” With that in mind, a messy work area may be giving a bad first impression to everyone who comes to your desk at work, and this may ultimately wreck your self-confidence. 

How does that work? Basically, a disorganized desk makes others think you are a disorganized person. In the worst case, this may mean your boss may stop relying on you for important tasks or even deny you promotions because he thinks you aren’t organized enough to get the job done. Even if that doesn’t happen, though, worrying about how your messy desk makes others think less of you will eventually erode your confidence, further killing your productivity. 

7. Clutter Makes Procrastination Even Worse 

The ultimate enemy of productivity will always be procrastination. The more we tell ourselves we’ll do something later, the less we ultimately get done by the end of the day. 

Clutter leads to procrastination and makes it worse, especially over time. For example, you may leave a notepad out because you’ll need it for tomorrow’s meeting. Or you may leave that ruffled stack of papers at the corner of your desk because you need to review them all on Friday. 

Eventually, you have a jumbled desk where you can hardly find anything or get anything done. And worst of all, “clean your area” becomes just one more thing a veteran procrastinator will keep putting off, so it’s important to maintain a clean and tidy workspace and find other ways to keep the job exciting

Channel Your Productivity into an Exciting New Job 

Now you know how cluttered workspaces affect your productivity. But do you know where you can put your skills as a productive worker to the best possible use? 

Here at Seguros Confie, we are always ready to work with great workers just like yourself. To see how we can help find the job you’ve been dreaming of, all you need to do is apply today