Harvard Business Review published an article titled “The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk.” They compiled multiple studies on the relationship between cluttered workspaces and a decline in productivity, mental health, and professional relationships. A clean desk and tidy workspace are essential for C-level executives because they hold the most powerful and influential positions in a company. Senior executives are responsible for setting company strategies, making high-stakes decisions, and ensuring daily operations are on track to fulfill company goals. On January 9th, nationwide executives participated in National Clean Your Desk Day. The statistics from the Harvard Business Review article reveal the power and freedom that result from a clean desk.
A study from the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute provides evidence that our brains like order. A cluttered workspace reduces your ability to focus. Visual reminders of clutter, such as stacks of paper and overstuffed filing cabinets, drain your cognitive resources. As a C-level executive, you must have the mental capacity to process information, evaluate problems, and provide clear company objectives. A clean and organized desk improves your focus and processing abilities, which increases productivity.
Stress from a cluttered and disorganized workspace can affect how you interact with others. One study showed that “participants with messy desks were perceived to be less conscientious, more neurotic, and less agreeable.” Another study also found that people with cluttered desks felt stressed, anxious, and depressed. The results from these scientific studies imply that a clean desk will help you to stay poised and professional in your interactions with employees and clients. For a senior executive, a clean desk can dictate whether they are attentive and articulate or disengaged and disagreeable.
Preparation For the Unexpected
Stress and overwhelm from a cluttered workspace can cause delayed decision-making, which can be a devastating downfall for senior executives. You should consider keeping only the items necessary for your current projects on your desk. Keeping your important files and documents organized on your computer or in a filing cabinet will allow you to access them quickly when needed.
How To Avoid A Cluttered Workspace
A daily cleaning routine triggers your brain to recognize the end of the work day. You can schedule five to ten minutes at the end of your workday to put pens, papers, and miscellaneous items in their proper place. Leaving your workspace tidy will help you relax at home and prepare your office for the next day’s work. It may be challenging to start this routine, but if you complete it faithfully, it will eventually become a part of your daily routine.