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Is Your Workspace Holding You Back?

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

Welcome to february. The rosy newness of the year has begun to wear off and, if you’re like me, new years resolutions to get super fit, super rich and super tidy have all gone by the wayside. You see, goals without discipline are only dreams. Now that it’s February and the energy of excitement has worn off, if we want to reach our goals we have to buckle down and find the discipline we need to achieve those goals. And that’s much easier said than done.

If your goals for 2023 include growing your business, something that can help you is having a tidy workspace. Now I’m not saying we need to go full minimalist and throw everything away except for the chair and laptop, but we have to find balance in our space to stay focused and productive without becoming overwhelmed by our surroundings. So before we get into the “how,” we’ll touch on a bit of “why,” you might find benefit in tidying your workspace.

Decluttering is proven to reduce stress. Do you ever walk into your kitchen in the morning only to bemoan not having cleaned up the night before? Or even further, did you go to bed thinking about how you should have cleaned up this or that but decided to leave it? How does that affect your mood?

Now consider, how do you feel when you walk into your clean kitchen in the morning and it’s ready and waiting for you to begin the day? It almost feels as good as a freshly worked arena!

Decluttering your workspace will have the same effect and will free your brain so it can focus on the task at hand.

A clean space makes a good impression. Same kitchen as above, when friends or family show up unannounced or at a busy time and you feel the need to explain your mess. It can come out in phrases like “sorry the house is so dirty…” or maybe you’re even harder on yourself and you describe your home as “disgusting,” because there’s an errant sock on the floor. In reality, we are all quite forgiving and a bit of mess doesn’t bother most visitors to our homes. We do live there, after all, and when you run a business from home, of course things are going to move from their rightful places. The problem lies in your perception and confidence. We do not want to be judged, and the fear of that judgment from our peers can wreck our confidence. Instead of anxiety, we want confidence that our workspace will appear neat and tidy NOT to make good impressions for others, but for ourselves.

You will be more productive A 2015 article of Harvard Business review cites an experiment (undated) to determine the effects of a cluttered workspace on productivity. Is anyone actually surprised by this? Not even a little bit. But it’s always nice to have our real world experiences back by science, right? What I do find interesting however is that productivity in an environment comes down to persistence. We could also call it focus. The reason your productivity increases in a tidy environment is you’re able to be more persistent or focused in your tasks. This does not mean you can focus on five different things at once and be successful. Rather, if you’re able to focus on one singular task and not be distracted by your environment, you can knock those tasks out quickly, one at a time, and have them all done sooner than if you had attempted to do them all at once.

But I don’t have TIME to clean my desk!

Yes you do. What you don’t have is discipline.

Here are some simple ways you can immediately improve your workspace to make it more productive for you.

get started- that’s always the hardest part. Dedicate 60 minutes to your workspace to get a jumpstart. You don’t have to finish it entirely. But turn off your distractions and get in there so you can get a quick win.

Manage your time- that’s a whole other topic for later. Set aside 15 minutes at the end of your office time to tidy up. You’ll be amazed at how quickly that 15 minute clean up will become a 10 minute clean up, and so on, if you stay disciplined each day.

Set boundaries for your workspace- whatever they need to be. Maybe it’s no eating at your desk, no kids in the office or lay a tape line they can’t cross. Do you share your workspace with others? Come up with some SIMPLE rules to keep it tidy that are easy enough for everyone to stick to.

Create a checklist for things that need done and then complete it- I like a weekly checklist that has specific items on each day. For example, on Monday my 15 minute cleaning routine includes wiping my laptop, which is a daily task, and vacuuming the rug, which I do once a week. This way I know what has been done and still needs completed.

Make time for a consistent deep clean. Once a week? Once a month? You decide what works for you. Designate a specific amount of time and stick to it. I like 60 minutes at the end of each month to clean up anything I may have missed. And if I’m content with my workspace and don’t need to do any work, I can lock myself in for some uninterrupted quiet time!

I hope this helps you even just a tiny bit. If you have questions about anything business related or topics you’d like to hear about, send us an email at

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