Guest Author - Carol M. Olmstead
Picture yourself in your office surrounded by a sea of paperwork, trying to find that memo about the meeting you are about to attend and muttering the phrase, ďItís here, somewhere!Ē If you donít have to think too hard to put yourself in this picture, itís time to take a few Feng Shui steps to conquer workplace clutter.
Whether you work in a cubicle, a corner suite, or a spare room in your home, clutter in your workspace increases stress, slows productivity because you waste time looking for misplaced things, plus it blocks new ideas and opportunities from flowing into your career or business. Studies show that people spend an average of 30 percent of their work time hunting for documents buried under phone messages, sticky notes, paper piles, or personal items, such as coffee mugs, cell phones, and framed photos. And that doesnít even include clutter on your computer screen and in your hard drive.
One study by ďFast Company MagazineĒ found that executives waste six weeks per year searching for lost documents ó time, which if better spent, might even result in a promotion. Think of what you could accomplish if you gave yourself an extra six weeks back.
Clutter was a major problem for Ashley and Ed when they called me for a Feng Shui analysis of their home repair business. Ed did the repairs and Ashley managed the office for their 10-year old company. However, their profits had been declining over the past few months, sales were down, and Edís morale was low. When I arrived at their office the first things I noticed were the small, cluttered desk, the mismatched collection of cast-off furniture, and the dented filing cabinets. And there was paper everywhere. I suggested the couple buy a larger desk to symbolize more room for the business to grow, clear out and consolidate all files so they needed less storage space, and get rid of all the excess paper that was distracting them from his business goals. Ashley immediately ordered new furniture and bought a shredder. Then, they went through their files and shredded all unnecessary documents. Next, they tackled their computer hard drive by getting rid of unneeded files and applications. Within a few weeks of his clutter reduction project, their customer base dramatically improved, sales began increasing, and Edís confidence in his ability to succeed was restored.
If you want to encourage new ideas, attract clients, or make progress in your business or career, you can follow the same three simple Feng Shui clutter-clearing steps that I gave to Ashley and Ed:
1. Get rid of desktop clutter.
2. Clean out file cabinets.
3. Buy the best furniture you can afford.
4. Find a desk that is the right size for the work to be done.
5. Clear your hard drive to make room for new projects, customers, and ideas.
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