Clean desk, clean brain

Albert Einstein's Desk

I’m not a neat & tidy person by nature. I have a tendency to push piles of papers around my desk or kitchen table, and create bigger & bigger stacks of paper rather than file things or throw things away. In the past I’ve never felt too badly about the situation. After all, there is proof that great minds can function perfectly fine with somewhat messy desks (see Albert Einstein’s desk above).

However, these days there are more things to do than there are hours in the day, so I’ve been looking into productivity boosters. In doing some reading, I found data┬áthat quantifies the amount of time the average person loses due to clutter:

According to the National Association of Professional Organizations, paper clutter is the No. 1 problem for most businesses. Studies show the average person wastes 4.3 hours per week searching for papers, which adds stress and frustration to the workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking. The average executive loses one hour of productivity per day searching for missing information. (from reliable

Yikes. In retrospect, I know I lose time searching for things in my apartment. I don’t doubt that I am close to the average. So one of my (many) resolutions this year is to reduce the clutter in my apartment and my workspace.

There are many blog posts that have given advice on de-cluttering your workspace, here is the process advice that I found most useful (mostly dealing w/ paper mess): What’s Wrong With a Messy Desk? Tame the Monster

In summary the advice is:
1) really want to improve
2) keep toss or move
3) start with the oldest
4) evaluate each piece only once
5) ask yourself, do I really need this?
6) be ruthless, be brave

And equally importantly, here are a few things to help you stay organized:

Hope this helps others who might need help getting organized, or getting motivated to get organized.

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