Go Clutter-Free and Boost Your Productivity

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We’ve got a lot of distractions. Between the TV, our laptops, our smartphones, our friends and our jobs, there’s a lot going on a lot of the time.

It’s hard to be creative, to be innovative and to just be productive when you have a million different things grabbing your attention. How are you supposed to just hunker down and focus? How can you increase your productivity without decreasing your morale?

On average, employees waste 4.3 hours per week looking for items that have wandered from their original spot. It’s easy to see why that leads to stress and frustration – think how hot and bothered you get when you can’t find the TV remote in the couch cushions.

Whether you’re at work or home, having a clear workspace directly correlates to having a productive day. If you’re roughly losing an hour a day of productivity to disorder and clutter, how can you increase productivity?

With the right tools and resources, you can enjoy a clutter-free workspace that helps boost your efficiency.

1.    Evernote. Desks, cars, kitchen tables – they’re magnets for loose papers, receipts and just random notes we scribble throughout the day. One of the easiest ways to eliminate the clutter is to go digital. We did it with books, and now you can do it to help create a stress-free work environment. Less stress = more productivity.

Features:
•    Create text, photo and audio notes.
•    Synch your notes across all your devices (laptop, tablet, phone)
•    Snip text, images and links from web searches to store

Tips to how it works:

•    First, Evernote is free. Just simply download it and it’s ready to use instantly.
•    The more you use it, the better it becomes. Instead of bookmarking pages, reduce the clutter in your browser by clipping articles and images you need to reference for later, and store them in a note.
•    Search through saved tags. Don’t be scared to make a lot of notes – when you make a note, take the extra couple seconds to tag them, so that later you can effortlessly search through them.
•    Use checklists. One of the easiest ways to feel productive is to mark things off a checklist. Evernote has a checklist tool that makes it simple for you to create and then eliminate things on your to-do list.

2.    Create a Trello board. Trello, like Evernote, is another online tool you can use to reduce clutter on your workspace. The first thing you need to know about Trello is that it’s incredibly user-friendly. It is simple to learn how to use, interactive and free.

A Trello board is like an interactive bulletin board, but it has a lot more features like adding deadlines, adding checklists and moving tasks into different columns.

3.    Binder clips – yes, really. We have a lot of devices, which means we have a lot of chargers, which means we have a lot of wires to keep up with. Binder clips are simple yes, but they are an easy, inexpensive and creative way to keep your workspace clutter-free .

•    First, get one binder clip for each wire you have on your desk.
•    Next, put the binder clip on the edge of the desk – the side closest to the wall it’s plugged into.
•    Then thread the wire through the two arms of the binder clip.

Already your desk is in better shape. Your wires won’t get tangled, saving you time if you ever need to unplug one and move it to another outlet.

Having an organized desk is universal – it doesn’t matter what type of job you hold or where you work – more organization means you’re more productive which means you’re happier.

It’s easy to be organized – the trick is staying organized. Try an innovative desk organizer. It will make you feel creative having an organizer with a cool style – plus, you’re more likely to put things back in their place if your things have a cool place to go back to.

4.    20/20/20. To boost your creativity and to have a clearer mind at work, keep in mind two things:

The 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away, and look at it for 20 seconds. If you’re sitting in front of a computer all day, it takes a toll on your eyes. Follow this rule, and you’ll give your eyes a mini-break without having to waste any time. Giving your eyes a break from the computer screen makes it easy to come back and feel refreshed when all you did was take a 20-second break.

Also, keep in mind short breaks. A 20-second break for your eyes is one thing, but it’s unrealistic to think that you can be productive for 8-straight hours during a work day. A great way to boost productivity, and morale, is to take a short break once or twice a day.  Your brain needs a break once in a while. Take a few minutes to isolate yourself— maybe just by sitting outside where it’s nice and quiet – you’ll feel refreshed and more creative as a result.

Written on 8/5/2013 by Rose Williams. Rose Williams is a freelance technology writer with a focus on how the Internet improves our lives, from access to quality education and information to the ability to forge new social connections. She holds a B.A. in Technical Communication and writes for an array of tech blogs around the interweb, with topics scanning from the best service providers (she uses HughesNet satellite Internet service) to the best tech devices for your child . You can contact Rose directly via email.

Photo Credit: Caroline Bucky

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