When you walk through the office, do you ever notice that some desktops are in disarray while others are perfectly organized? You may also notice that the office space is either orderly or cluttered. Some professionals have bought into the idea that a cluttered desk demonstrates working hard. However, some people with mental health challenges can be affected by a disorderly office.
This has nothing to do with obsessive-compulsive disorder, per se. Some people can be triggered just because their space seems overwhelming, with piles of papers, wires, and cords, or things simply not having a home. If you want to create an environment in which people can improve their performance and productivity, make sure that your overall work space is orderly.
I have a teenage son and a young adult son who both live with me. This wouldn't be relevant except I have a home-based office, and they don't always pick up after themselves and sometimes allow clutter to accumulate. This literally drives me crazy! What I learned from a therapist while in treatment was that I not only desire a space that is clean and organized, I actually have to have it to be mentally well. Equipped with that knowledge, I now share with my sons the importance of my space being clean and organized for my mental stability. Some people are suffering in the workplace and don't even know why, because getting organized isn't equated with mental health.
People who work in a cluttered environment usually have unrecognized stress and often feel overwhelmed by having to constantly pick up documents to put them back on their desk, or step over clutter and piles of documents that should have a home. Everything in your office should have an appropriate place to be stored. If you find that you feel out of control and overwhelmed by your desk or environment, now is the time to do something about it instead of waiting for the annual spring cleaning. You have to get your space in order so that you can think clearly, tackle tasks, and have a work environment that is clutter-free. Here are some tips:
Completing a To-Do List
This seems simple enough, but you'll be amazed how effective it is to have a list to check off for accomplishing tasks. When you keep a majority of your tasks in your head, it creates a hidden stress of worrying that you may forget something. A to-do list is almost like a roadmap to finishing projects and tasks on a daily basis. And there is such a sense of accomplishment when you can end each day with a clear view of what you've accomplished and what you still have ahead of you. You will even begin to notice patterns of behavior or activities that are counterproductive by keeping your list active.
Clean Your Office
Don't leave it up to the night cleaning crew to take care of your office. They will probably empty your trash and vacuum, but I assure you that detailed cleaning is not going to happen. Bring from home whatever you may need to dust your workspace, get rid of the cobwebs, wipe down your furniture, and find a home for all of those documents that are piling up. If you find yourself picking up papers and then putting them back down throughout the day, that is a sign that those documents need a home. Sometimes you will have to make a tough decision to throw some things away, or create a file or folder for them.
Make Cleaning a Habit
Cleaning and organizing your space has to become something that is done on a consistent basis. You can't wait until things pile up to then clean up. You need to make straightening your desk at the end of each day a part of your routine. As small or commonsensical as this may sound, it is one of the many things that trips people up. When you see that something is out of place in a common area or sitting on the floor collecting dust, make it a point to take care of it.