Spring is almost here! And for some of us, that means spring-cleaning will be added as an item on our to-do lists. Spring-cleaning is, after all, one of the rites of the season.
My spring-cleaning ritual has always included my office environment. Over the years, I have carved out time to organize, de-clutter and refresh my space. By doing so, I created a space with a “fresh start” so to speak.
After each spring-cleaning initiative, I felt energized and renewed. It turns out that my external surrounding was more important than I realized. It was linked to the way in which I sustained my leadership vitality. When my space was clean, I experienced reduced stress and enhanced productivity.
These spring-cleaning habits date back to my days as a young professional. I started my career with IBM where a clean desk policy was enforced. Each night, before leaving the office, I organized my space. Some nights it was my turn to be “on duty” as the clean desk administrator, writing up those who failed to maintain standards. Thus, I learned early on the habits of and reasons for maintaining a clean office environment.
- Presentable spaces leave a good impression.
- Less clutter means less distraction and more efficiency.
- Private and confidential information is handled as appropriate.
- Stress is reduced when the excessive stimuli (clutter) is eliminated.
- Productivity and creativity can be enhanced by “opening” the surroundings.
Maintaining a daily and weekly ritual helped reduce clutter with papers and my inbox. By itself, it wasn’t sufficient for keeping me on top of things.
The spring-clean gave me the opportunity to create a space that was lean and clean for the year ahead. I eliminated what no longer mattered, was outdated and would be better served elsewhere.
Here are five tips worth sharing for spring-cleaning to create a physical environment that is organized, de-cluttered and refreshed.
- Go through your papers – desk drawers, file cabinets, shelves with binders. Get rid of those papers you no longer need. Organize the papers, files and binders that need to be kept in a way that puts them within reach or makes it readily accessible.
- Look at books, newspapers and magazines for their on-going relevance. Recycle outdated newspapers and magazines. Donate books that have served their purpose or are never going to be read.
- Sort out your supplies – pens, pencils, markers, paper clips, binder clips, etc. Determine how many are needed against how many you have. Discard what doesn’t work and return extras to the supply room.
- Clean your phone, keyboard and screen / monitor. If you use a mouse pad, assess whether or not it is time to get a new one.
- Evaluate your space for visual clutter. Determine if it is time for a refresh of wall hangings, plants, coffee cups, photos and keepsakes. Note whether office supplies are best served out in the space or within a desk drawer. Maybe a lamp with soft, more ambient lighting would be a good addition.
Is it time for your office spring clean? And what about your daily and weekly rituals? Do they need to become habits for helping you reduce stress and enhance productivity?