Sprucing up and decluttering your home is typical of spring cleaning, but this annual refresh can also be a perfect way to increase productivity in the workplace. Now that the long winter has passed and warmer weather is on the horizon, take a beat to dust off your desk and priorities to make space for new ideas to grow.
Revamp Your Workspace
Let’s start simple. Cleaning up and refreshing your workspace is vital to any workplace spring cleaning, especially if you’re a clutter culprit.
- Go through your old files, papers and notes, and get rid of anything that is no longer vital to your projects.
- If your filing system no longer makes sense, take a moment to rethink that as well. If your desk organization isn’t going to let you efficiently find what you’re looking for, what’s the point of having a system at all?
- Individualize and customize for you! If you want 5 tiny desk plants and a portrait of Edgar Alan Poe, then that’s all you. But if you’re someone who needs a wiped down clean slate with your pencils all in a row, recognize that and adjust accordingly. Everyone works differently, and your desk environment will affect your productivity.
Pro tip: Don’t forget your desktop! It’s the easiest thing in your workspace to overlook, but one of the most detrimental. We’re all guilty of quickly saving items to our desktop, but just as quickly forgetting they’re there and letting them sit in the corner collecting dust. Don’t be afraid to hit delete on those documents you no longer recognize or that random image of a Dalmatian… how did that get there?
Like I mentioned above, everyone works differently, so there’s no hard and fast rules for cutting distractions. In fact, some people will work better in a more hectic environment. Check out these tips to see if any may work for your workstyle.
- Have a dump drawer or box. For some people, being surrounded by papers can get overwhelming. If you’re feeling scatter-brained because of the multitude of material taking over your space, put it in your dump drawer to be organized later so that you can focus on the most important project at hand.
- Social media tripping you up? Try the apps SelfControl or Freedom to curb your tendencies.
- Clear your cache. Google knows everything these days, so if you’ve been searching the latest deals at Nordstrom or camping gear on Amazon, chances are you’re receiving targeting ads on many of the sites you visit. Clear your cache in your Internet settings to get rid of some of these.
Pro tip: If your workspace is still driving you a little stir-crazy, get up and take a walk around the office. Breaks have been proven to increase productivity.
Check Your Priorities
You can do this on your own, or make it a team- or company-wide initiative. Through the year, priorities can get muddled or change. You may have halted projects you can let go of or new priorities that aren’t getting enough attention because they’re stuck in the queue.
- Ask yourself (and your team) what is making the biggest impact and what could we stop doing?
- Label projects in order of performance: top priority, on hold and stop doing.
- Consider company priorities and initiatives that may not often make it on any one to-do list. Send out a survey and ask employees to rate items on importance and how they would impact productivity.
- For example, revamping a lobby space can increase pride and performance, which in turn, impacts the bottom line, though this initiative may not have had a clear economic value.
- Create a plan in line with the new order of priorities that streamlines success.
Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to let go of stuck projects that no longer line up with priorities. It’s only freeing up space for new ideas.