A messy environment can mess up your productivity, especially when working from home. It is hard to focus with clutter on the desk and the typical noisy background at home. I for one have been guilty of having a messy table and the many distractions around me. However, after cleaning and organizing my workspace and setting some boundaries, my productivity increased instantly. I could find my things more easily and finish my tasks more quickly.
Believe me, once you start working in a clean environment, you will regret not cleaning your office way before. So, do not procrastinate this essential chore anymore, use these methods to clean your home office and make your work from home time productive and enjoyable like never.
Wipe your Table and Devices
Start off by removing everything from your desk and shelving, even if you know for sure you aren’t throwing it away. Wipe down your desk surface and shelves, especially the corners, removing all the caught-up dust. Also wipe down your mouse, keyboard or any other commonly touched areas as this is a necessity now in Covid-19 times…those are the places that have the most bacteria. Here is a guide on how to clean your laptop properly. Be sure to add these spots to your regular cleaning checklist so that you won’t miss it out the next time you clean your home office.
The next step is to sort out all your things that you removed earlier. Go through all of your things one by one, be it documents or stationery. Taxing at first, but it will reduce the countless items you may have and saves the trouble later when the mess gets bigger.
Keep Only the Must-Haves
Before you start putting all your things back to its original place, think about what you use when you’re working. Some people thrive when their desks are only filled with the necessities. Others perhaps are ok with a little bit of mess and can still work well. The key idea is to control what you have on your desk so that you don’t end up buried in your clutter. Add back only what you need.
Begin keeping the most frequently used items on your table first. Having what you need readily available helps avoid disruptions to your workflow and also save the time you spend searching for it. After arranging commonly used items, start putting the rest of your things. The less important things can be kept inside the cupboards or drawers while the more important things should be kept out in the open, near you. If needed, buy dividers and small baskets to organize any trinkets or small items.
Boundaries for Kids and Pets
If you have young children or even pets at home, work from home can get more challenging. So, it is best to set some boundaries with them while you work. One way is to have door signages for the room you are working in so that they know when it is okay to enter or when they should not disturb you. You do not want your kids to be barging in with their toys while you are doing a presentation to your boss on Zoom!
Family and pets may not be the only distractions. Food is at times a major one. If you are the kind who would snack or chug down mugs of coffee while working, you would find your table dirty and messy, full of plates, mugs and crumbs. Working in this kind of environment can not only decrease your productivity, but also result in unwanted pests paying you a visit. So, ensure you wash up your utensils and cutlery immediately after eating. Sweep up and clean any crumbs that may have dropped, even the tiniest ones! And as far as possible, eat your snacks in the kitchen instead of bringing it to your desk.
Presentable Physically and Virtually
While a one-off spring cleaning is an absolute necessity, maintaining the cleanliness is equally important. Pointless isn’t it, if your table is back to its previous state in a week’s time. Furthermore, you will waste a lot of time and energy to clean the mess again. Thus, avoid that by making sure you do a quick clean every day after work has ended, get rid of paper scraps if any and put back the things you used to their original place. That way, you can start off your next working day on a clean slate.
Lastly, your table is not the only thing that should be presentable. Ensuring that the room you are working in is presentable is equally important, especially if your work involves a lot of business meetings and video calls using Zoom or other video conferencing systems. To be professional and formal during these meetings, a clean background is highly recommended. Having professional looking backgrounds will set the mood for your meetings and will also prevent any distractions at the back from being seen.
With these proven tips, your home office should be looking tidy and instantly make you feel more energetic during work. Doing this routine will not only boost your productivity but also make you feel good about working from home. Having a proper cleanup once a month is also good for your home office. After all, a tidy workspace results in a tidy mind to work effectively.