As another winter comes to an end, you might be thinking about (or procrastinating) sprucing up your home. But you might not want to stop--or start--there. Science has shown that a round of spring cleaning in your office space could help you be more productive, creative, and motivated. Struggling with where to start? Here are three quick tasks you can cross off the list so you can get your office working for you in no time.
1. Clear your desk of non-essential tools
Research has shown that too much clutter overwhelms our mind. The excessive stimuli (things we can see, touch, or smell) pull our energy away from whatever we should be focusing on. Further, the same way clutter closes off open space on our desks, it also closes off open space in our mind. This inhibits creativity, brainstorming, and problem-solving. Dedicate one hour to clearing your workspace of anything that is no longer relevant to your current project. This may include old notebooks, reminders you wrote to yourself last fall, or junk mail. Of course, you may not necessarily want to completely get rid of everything, but if you don't need to reference them daily, file them away so they are out of sight.
2. Update your snack drawer
The food you you do or don't eat while you work is just as important to your health as it is to your creativity. Food science has shown that unprocessed foods, foods high in protein, whole grains, and fresh fruit are especially effective in fueling the brain and improving conditions for creative thought. Rather than candy and energy drinks that will make your brain crash down, stash your office with fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, and tea.
3. Redecorate with something blue
Researchers at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business have found that the color blue promotes creativity (while other colors are more effective in other contexts, for example red for focused task completion). This is probably because we associate blue with vastness--skies, oceans. These associations make us more open-minded and open to risk, thus making us more creative. Find some open wall space and decorate it with something blue, perhaps something as simple as a photo of the sky or the ocean. For something more artistic, there's always Rothko's Blue Divided By Blue or Picasso's Blue Period.
Cleaning is never fun, but in spending a little time doing so, you'll have much more fun at work going forward.