Written by Aliza Sklar

When it comes to neatness and order, some have an easier time than others. There are those who are seemingly born with an urge to clean everything they see, and there are others who insist that there is logic to the tumult, and it is only through the clutter that they work effectively.

There is something to say for both of these methods. A recent study in Psychological Science, found that those who worked in an orderly room did more socially responsible, “good” things, including choosing healthier snacks and giving money to charity. Participants working in a messy room, however, were more likely to try new things and develop more creative ideas.

Geniuses such as Albert Einstein, and creative minds such as Roald Dahl, thrived in the messiness of piled papers and hard-to-reach desks. However, for the average person, having a clean workspace can be a huge step to working efficiently and making your boss happy.

Stress tends to seep in where there is a lot of clutter. Messes can distract your attention, keeping you constantly multitasking and not fully completing each task to the best of your ability. Clutter can also be overwhelming, and lead our brains to believe that the work is never complete. Not to mention how frustrating it is when something important goes missing, only to be found buried under a pile of papers two hours after the report was due.

But it is possible to change the cycle, relieve the chaos, and reintroduce calm into your workday. Here are some tips that have worked for me:

A) Stop multi-tasking! (See my previous blogpost for tricks and tips)

B) When you are given an assignment, take care of it as soon as you can! If you push things off, allowing more and more work to pile up, it will be harder and harder to keep things neat and organized.

C) As soon as one task is completed, throw out, shred, or archive the leftover instructions and materials. Don’t leave things hanging around once they are taken care of.

D) At the end of the day, make sure your desk is clean. This will start off your next day right, on a cleaner, and more organized foot.

These changes may not happen overnight, but even just beginning with one or two of the above tips can prove fruitful to reducing your stress. Especially if you’re someone whose desk hasn’t seen the light of day in a while, following the above steps can lead to greater calm, and with that greater productivity and enhanced satisfaction for you as well your co-workers. Try it- you may be surprised 🙂

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The Center for Anxiety™ is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that is owned and operated by David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D. The Center provides consultation in psychological research by designing, implementing and examining results from research protocols to help facilitate evaluation of treatment outcomes, and training for mental health professionals in evidence-based treatments for anxiety symptoms. All clinical services described on this website are provided by NYC Psychology Inc., a Professional Corporation (PC) that is also owned and operated by David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D.; Usage & Privacy Policy