Improve Productivity: 5 Tips to Clear Clutter In Your Workspace

Clutter is defined asa crowded or confused mass or collection.”  The same dictionary also defines it as things that clutter a space and cause disturbance.

If allowed, clutter can be one of the biggest obstacles to your level of productivity.  Take a look around you. Is clutter standing in the way of you doing your best work?

There are different types of clutter: there’s mental clutter; physical clutter, which includes your home and workspace; and there’s emotional clutter.

When your environment is filled with clutter, it can change your emotions, as well as your energy level.  This is because you may find that you’re reacting rather than responding. You may feel a general sense of unease or anxiety and mental exhaustion.  Rather than flowing smoothly, everything feels like an uphill battle.

As I write this article, countries around the world are affected by Corona Virus-COVID-19.  Many businesses are closed and employees have been laid off.  Some employees are working remotely, that is, from home. Added to that, schools, colleges, and universities are closed and all class work is being done online from home. This has created a dynamic that many families are not accustomed to.

In his article, Constant Connection, my friend and fellow BIZCATALYST 360° writer, John Dunia, described it this way:

“For those of you who have been spending much more time with your partner or spouse than you have since… well since you first started dating… your struggle can seem just as ominous. Although you may not be dealing with the stress of work, there may be an overwhelming urge to take a break from everyone or even seek a little privacy. Add to that the addition of children or other family members and it’s a recipe for an emotional explosion.” (Italics mine).

The change in lifestyle can create a disturbance for those who work from home, whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re working remotely for your organization.

How can you maintain or increase productivity in spite of a change in your living arrangements and lifestyle in general at this time? What impact is clutter having on your productivity? The following 5 tips to clear clutter in your workspace can be used at any time to improve productivity, regardless of how many people share your home and workspace.  It takes decisive action.

You may recognize that you’re not as productive as you could be, and you could be blaming that on the fact that you have to help your children or grandchildren with their school work.  You could come up with any number of reasons…but answer the following questions for yourself?

  • Is it difficult to find a file on your hard drive or in the cloud because you do not organize your files effectively?
  • Are you constantly searching for client files, company files, notes, or even something to write with?
  • Are there stacks of books, papers, or even coffee cups or dishes sitting on your desk?
  • Are your file drawers crammed with paperwork that you no longer need and which should really be in the trash can?

If you answered, Yes, to any of the above, I invite you to review the following:

Tips to Clear Clutter in Your Work Space

Before you begin, take the time to do an honest self-evaluation. Make the decision. Take action.  Although I will refer to ‘your office’ the same would apply to anywhere you use as your office space.

Tip #1:  Put away everything that belongs in your desk drawers or file cabinet. You should promptly remove anything that does not belong in your office. Can’t decide where to put something?  Place it in a box with a lid and place it out of sight. Bonus tip: Discard anything you haven’t used in the past year. You probably don’t need them and may never use them again.

Tip #2:  Clear everything from the top of your desk and wipe it down. Prior to placing things back on top of your desk, evaluate each item to make sure you actually need it front and center. If not, then put it away or throw it away. Reduce visual distractions as much as possible. Bonus tip: Wipe down your desk phone and/or smartphone. They’re a haven for germs.

Tip #3:  Gather all your Post-It notes and scraps of paper. Review them and discard what you can. If any tasks can be handled quickly, schedule a time in your planner and get them done during a focused work session (time block). For the remainder, type them into a digital document for safekeeping. Bonus tip: If they include items you need to reference, keep the one-page document easily accessible on your desktop or stored in a top desk drawer.

Tip #4: If you have boxes or stacks of items on your office floor, go through them and discard everything you can. Again, if you have not used something in the past year, discard it or give it away. Discarding is the better choice so that it can be recycled. Bonus tip: Go through your bookcase and get rid of any books you also own digitally. Box up any others that are outdated and either give them to the library or recycle them.

Tip #5 Technology produces its own brand of clutter. Close down any tabs that you have open on your computer except for those that apply to your current work. Log out of social media accounts, as well as your email. Make a habit of working with minimal tabs open on your desktop. Bonus tip: Turn off any gadgets except the ones you need to do your core work tasks. You’ll get more done faster and easier without added distractions.


By implementing these simple tips, you’ll begin to clear the clutter in your workspace and reduce distraction while you improve productivity. The result of taking action to clear clutter from your workspace is that you’ll be more energized, less anxious, and more focused on your work.  Investing a little bit of time today to prepare your work environment will make a noticeable difference in your productivity!

Need an additional productivity boost?  Register to gain access to my free webinar, “15 Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity and Get More Done in Less Time.”


Yvonne A. Jones
Yvonne A. Jones
YVONNE is a Personal Business Coach | Relationship Marketing Strategist| Amazon Best-Selling Author| International Speaker. She is the Founder of the 50 and Wiser Community on Facebook – a Group of women who want to DO more, GIVE more, and BE more. As a certified Strategy and Accountability Coach, she helps Entrepreneurs, Coaches, Consultants, and Small Business Owners eliminate limiting beliefs, create a business they love, and have fun doing so. Her favorite client is a highly-motivated woman 50 and Wiser who has been in business for approximately one year and is ready to empower herself and move to the next level. Yvonne’s background is in banking, Human Resources, administration, and Customer Service. At 52 years she handed in her resignation and walked away from Corporate America to start her own business full-time. She has experienced the joys and challenges of owning multiple businesses. She was listed on as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter” and on “One of the Top 15 Most Influential Customer Service Experts to Follow on Twitter.” Despite the recognition and promotions received while in corporate life in Jamaica and America, she now considers herself “unemployable” due to her love of being her own boss and inspiring others to pursue their passion and dreams. Yvonne’s mantra: “Focus on relationships; the money will follow.”

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    • Roger Wheatley, I am honored to have my article described as the “Zen” of workspaces”!

      Clutter is so draining and such an energy stealer. I can immediately feel the difference when my surroundings are neatly arranged, which does not mean that my desk has to be totally clear, and you probably can feel the difference too. It’s something that’s often overlooked as a barrier to increased productivity.

      Thank you for your comment and I’ll be exploring more on your website as well.

    • Cynthia,

      Your last sentence made me smile…’And yes, closed some tabs…

      We constantly need reminders, don’t we? I was improving in this area and as I read your comment I looked up and saw that somehow I’d fallen back into one of my ‘bad’ habits of having too many tabs open. Now it’s my turn to thank you for reminding me that this is indeed a form of clutter for me and for my computer. Thanks for commenting on the article.


  1. Hi Catherine, Thank you for your positive response and feedback to my article on removing clutter from your workspace. It’s an ongoing challenge for most of us and sometimes we just need little reminders to get us back on track. It makes me happy to hear that you were able to implement the recommendations to minimize clutter.

  2. Yvonne, I needed your article! I have so many things on my To-do list- and I get so distracted with all the notifications from every app/ calendar/ and site that I am simultaneously logged into that many things get left for later but not removed from my very small workspace. as I ready your article I was able to follow the directions and really think about what I need to do to minimize the clutter. Thank you!!!