Here’s Why You Need to Stop Neglecting Your Workspace

By Caitlin Andrews (Millennial Milk

Organizing your desk can fall low on your priorities when you have a long list of things to do. Personalizing and decorating? You must be thinking that I can’t be serious. There are definitely more important things than that. It’s true. If you’re crunched for time then you shouldn’t put off a project to clean out a desk drawer.

You still can’t neglect your desk space. That’s why you need to carve out a bit of time each week, or each day if you tend to be on the messy side, to organize your workspace. Once you get into the habit you won’t have as much to do when your organization day rolls around and the task will be less daunting. It sounds like a pain now, but it’s worth it.

Keeping your desk space organized can increase your productivity and performance. Personalization of your workspace also has psychological benefits. It can improve your mood and reduce your stress.

Arrange Your Desk for Performance and Productivity

An organized desk will help you stay focused. It will make your job easier if you know where everything is and you don’t have to go on a hunt for missing papers. Here are a few tips for organizing your desk space to maximize productivity and performance. The key here is to make your desk work for you.

  1. Prioritize the items that you keep on your desk. Think of the top of your desk as prime real estate. The things you use every day, such as a notepad and pen, are fine to take up space on the top of your desk. That box of spare staples? What is it even doing on your desk? Move it to the supply closet or stow it away in a desk drawer. Things that you don’t use everyday are just taking up space and slowing you down.
  2. Ban piles from your desk. There are some bad organization systems out there. Making piles is one of them. If you have a habit of stacking papers and folders in a pile on your desk then you could be hurting your efficiency. Piles interrupt your workflow by getting in the way and making it difficult to find what you need. Instead, try vertical file stands or use shelves to organize vertically.
  3. Purge unnecessary paperwork. Go through all of the papers you have stuffed in your desk or buried in old files. Chances are, you don’t need it all anymore. If you don’t need it then toss it or shred it. Archive it in file boxes and stick them in a closet. There is only so much space in your work area. Getting rid of papers and files you don’t need anymore will declutter your space and make your work area more efficient.

Personalize Your Space to Reduce Stress and Improve Your Mood

Studies have shown the psychological benefits of personalizing your workspace. One such study observed employees working in administrative or clerical positions in a university administration building. The study showed that employees benefited from being able to personalize their workspace, especially in an open office setting.

The employees consciously or subconsciously took comfort from the personal items they surrounded themselves with, contributing to positive cognitive and affective states. It also enabled them to maintain emotional energy and cope with the stress of a low privacy environment.

The bottom line? You should take the time to personalize your desk for your mental health. Decorate your area with pictures of loved ones and pets, knick knacks and toys, colorful decorations and anything else that makes you happy. If you have limited room, try bringing in a corkboard to hang in your area that you can decorate instead of placing items and picture frames on your desk.

Not sure what you want to put on your desk? Treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Go out and find something that serves no purpose other than making you smile. I did and it was worth it.

My husband and I were at Toys ‘R’ Us one day. I’d like to say that we were shopping for a present for our nephew, but that would be a lie. We were definitely there for us. We had stopped in to check out the video games, but that turned into a trip to the model dinosaur section — one of my favorite places as a kid.

I don’t impulse buy often and I’m frugal by nature. However, I fell in love with two dinosaurs and I couldn’t choose between them. Then I realized I was an adult and this should not be a debate. There was no reason for me to buy either of them.

Then my husband reminded me that yes, I am an adult. And I work hard. If I want to spend money on a toy dinosaur then I should do it. Plus, they were on sale. So I bought them both.

No regrets.

Iris and Geppetto now sit on my desk and you know what? They make me happy. Go find your equivalent of a toy dinosaur and proudly display it on your desk. You’ll thank me later.


Geppetto and Iris battling it out on my desk. This is what they do all day. I love them.

This is what it all boils down to. You spend a good chunk of the day at your desk. Take some time to get it organized and never hesitate to add some personality to your area. Personalizing and organizing your area is never wasted time. It’s good for you. And what makes you happy is ultimately good for your work.