I posted on LinkedIn a while back a picture of my office desk a few days after I’d tidied it and how it had helped me improve my focus and therefore productivity over those few days.
This is because my mind wasn’t constantly being interrupted by bits of paper that I knew I needed to deal with. I had my one task that I was working on in front of me and that got 100% of my focus and attention. The rest of the paperwork was then filed away in a system that helped me prioritise the next most important task for that day.
I can only work on one thing at a time, if I want to do it well.
The post got lots of engagement, particularly from people who felt inspired to tidy their own desk, and so I thought I’d write a blog exploring it further.
The old adage of ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’, definitely resonates with me, although I don’t live by it all the time.
For example, if I take a week off, I always come back to a pile of stuff on my desk. I’ll deal with the important stuff but will then push the rest to one side, telling myself I’ll deal with it later. More often than not, other stuff will get added to the pile and ‘dealing’ with it all seems a much larger task than I have time for, so I leave it. And it gets worse from there until it gets too much and I then, finally, do something about it.
I always feel far more focused and productive when my desk is tidy. Then I’m left thinking, those months when my desk was a mess, how much more work could I have got done had my desk been tidy. Could I have earned more money just by having a tidy desk.
Do you get it at home when you’re trying to relax but your mind can’t switch off from the large cobweb in the corner, the wonky picture frame or the DIY job you know needs doing? I don’t experience any of that because I’m a bit rubbish and don’t notice those kinds of things, but I’m told many people do.
So, if you can be more focused and profitable at work, and enjoy your personal time more, simply by having a cleaner to clear the clutter, or someone to sort your paperwork for you, or clear your email inbox, doesn’t it make sense to do it?
We have a cleaner for the office, but I don’t have a cleaner at home. However, writing this blog, I think I’m coming around to the idea.
Luckily, I know someone who can help.
Business productivity is an area of focus in our ‘Board Meeting’ service, which is ideal for people who run their own businesses alone and would like an expert to help them set goals and targets, hold them accountable, review their goals against current performance and to generally bounce ideas off.
Just call on 01604 662670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Crooke is a Partner at Kilby Fox Chartered Accountants in Northampton. Martin specialises in helping small business owners gain financial control of their lives so they can focus on what they do best.