10 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress at Work by Jessica Hodges
Clutter = stress. The more things you have to look at, deal with, sort through, ignore, or clean, the greater your stress levels. Experts say that most people regularly use only about 10 percent of their belongings, which means that 90 percent of what’s on your desk or in your home isn’t necessary to everyday living.
Chances are if you have piles on your desk, stacks on the floor or half finished projects everywhere, you’re experiencing stress, which can prevent you from working at your optimum level of productivity.
So, whether you’re working at home, on the road or in the office, learning to organize your workspace can dramatically lower your stress levels.
Here are some basic tips for organizing throughout the year:
- Tackle a job that’s within reason.Don’t try to organize the entire office all at once. Take small steps, like organizing the top of your desk or a single drawer. Then, move onto another area, like a large file cabinet or closet. Think about where and when you waste the most time or feel the most stressed –searching through a file cabinet or delving into an archive to look for an old client presentation or expense account–and designate this as first priority.
- Get six large boxesLabel them “To Do,” “File,” “Keep,” “Store,” “Trash” and “Donate.” Beginning in one corner of your area, go through every object there. If it gets daily use, keep it where you can put your hands on it easily. If not, put it in one of the boxes depending upon how often it gets used. Remember the cardinal rule of de-cluttering: When in doubt, throw it out.
- Now look at the items in the “To Do” box.These should go where you can find them easily. Put them into a file folder, a briefcase or keep it as the first file or two in the closest drawer to your office chair. Better yet, put the “To Do” files in a rack on your desktop so that you see it the first thing every morning.
- Next, look at the “File” and “Keep” boxes.Get new file folders and label each one with its contents. Put each type of document in its own folder. Use color-coded files for different clients or project types; they will be easy to find when you’re in a hurry. The items in the “Keep” box should be placed in a file cabinet the furthest away from your workspace since you don’t use them everyday.
- Finally, look at the “Store” box.Either store these items as-is or find a box to keep them in for long-term storage. Itemize the contents of the box for easy retrieval later.
- Make a promise to yourself to keep the workspace free of clutter.Limit your desktop to only a few necessary items.
- Exercise caution when adding personal items to your desktop.As tempting as it might be to add personal items to your desktop, exercise caution. One or two personal photos or mementos that you really cherish will be more meaningful than a dozen.
- Add a plant.It is soothing and will “freshen” the space.
- When the job is done, set some ground rules for the newly-organized space.Define what will–and will not–be kept or stored in the area.