How to Start Clearing Desk Clutter to Boost Your Productivity

Here are three simple questions you can ask yourself right now: 

  • First: What does your office desk or home desk look like? 
  • Second: Does it make you feel positive and confident? 
  • Third: Does it make you feel ultra high-performing? 

If the answer you have given to  merits a “No” on any of the questions that follow the first, it is high time to remove all that desk clutter. You can say it does not bother you. However, whether consciously or not, the desk clutter is a distraction. It might be keeping your full attention away from the task at hand. Your mind can wander off to that disorganized tray of highlighter—making you want to arrange them. That instant is still time off from your day. Imagine how much of that same thought could have accumulated in the last eight hours that you were working. A good thing to focus on would be to alleviate that choke point. Clearing your desk can help you from spending too much time, or any time at all, on frivolous tasks and concentrate on your more important duties.

Being productive can be quite straightforward. Make sure that you have a workspace that you find to be comfortable working in for an extended period. To illustrate, it can look like having a swivel chair or a standing desk that is free from clutter. It can also look like getting rid of all the tangled wires. The disordered knotting can quickly disappear by transitioning to a wireless mouse and keyboard. 

A messy desk leads to heightened stress. This can be from the frustration of misplacing documents, finding missing supplies, and the like (Alton, 2017). Constantly rearranging your workspace because of all the desk clutter creates an impression in your mind that you are just as disoriented. Productivity directly ties with ergonomics. Incorporating proper ergonomics accompanied by healthy lifestyle choices can drastically improve productivity and decrease fatigue and muscle soreness (Cole, 2021).

Keeping on top of the desk clutter dilemma should be on your checklist. Here are a few tips to finally clear your desk clutter and boost your productivity. These steps contain excerpts from the well-renowned and international bestselling book, Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time (2007) written by Brian Tracy.

How to Start Clearing Desk Clutter and Boost Productivity: 


Stop Waiting for the ‘Right’ Time

Putting off decluttering your desk might seem reasonable because you feel that you have more tasks and responsibilities still waiting to be accomplished. You are right. There is always something you have to be doing. The thing is, you will never not always be caught up with everything, so it might be time to accept the idea that now is as good a time as any.

Decluttering is a task that you are most likely to procrastinate on if you do not do something about it now. Having this said, the fundamental key is simply to start—to take action. Anyway, The most challenging part of any important task is getting started. As Goethe said, “begin it, and the work will be completed.”

Taking it even further, you might want to literally do it first thing in the morning. It is time to develop the discipline to begin immediately and to persist until the task is complete. You have control over your life and the direction of your day. Choose the kind of work that is good for you. In this case, the kind of work that empowers you to feel better about yourself and your workspace. One of the most important decisions you make each day is what you will do immediately and what you will do later. 

As Mark Twain said, start your morning by eating your frog. You will have the satisfaction throughout your day that you were able to do a task that impacts your life. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you went up to the challenge and finished. 


Create a Definite Picture

Visualization is one of the hardest things to check off in any activity. You might get tempted to skip the planning process and resolve to wing it instead. While it is definitely an option you can choose to do, it is not the most efficient approach. It is said that every minute spent in planning saves as long as ten minutes in execution. 

Invest in planning. Sometimes we fall prey to thinking that we have no capacity to plan ahead—that visualizing how we want things to be is impossible because we “don’t know what we want.” That is completely understandable. The main message here prompts you to simply try it first. Don’t knock it off until you have invested a little or some time into the ordeal. 

Be prepared before beginning. It is as easy as having everything you will need within your reach before you start. Have a tidying box or a garbage bin ready beside your desk. This saves you from constantly having to move around. This will also keep you focused on the task in front of you. 

It is essential to note that preparation still involves your personal disposition. Be fully charged or get yourself recharged before you start cleaning. It is crucial to have the energy and enthusiasm to carry yourself through.


Focus on one item at a time

In a literal sense, take your things off one by one. Desk clutter might look daunting. It can seem overwhelming. It will have you questioning where to start in the first place. It only takes focus. Every single piece of clutter removed from the desk is so much better than none at all. Simply rest in the idea that the tedious task will eventually end. Think about the boosted productivity it will reap. The process is but a means to this end.

There will constantly be things, people, and events that can hinder your productivity—your decluttered workspace will not be one of them. Although, it helps to know that you don’t always have to push yourself to peak productivity every moment. All you can do is all you can do. As Brian Tracy wrote down, concentrate on your most important task, do it well and finish it completely.