3 Sneaky Ways Clutter Is Sabotaging Your Business

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Clutter is everywhere. It’s on our websites, in our homes, on our desks, and even in our heads. And the more visually-inclined I’ve become, the sharper my design and aesthetic sensibilities get, the more it drives me crazy! Because, whether we realize it or not, clutter sabotages our lives and yes, even our businesses.

It starts with your field of vision… You see clutter, which distracts your mind from the task at hand. As if that weren’t enough of a problem, you then get hung up dealing with the clutter physically (tripping over it, digging through it, and so forth). From my own observation, there are three major ways that clutter may be sabotaging your business:

  1. Digital clutter is making your [website, desktop, files] difficult to navigate. Are your computer documents in such disarray that it takes you several minutes to find a particular file? Is your website so discombobulated that your customers leave without getting what they came for? On your end, digital clutter makes it harder for you to deliver your products or services, and on your customers’ end, clutter can impact their ability to receive your offerings. [TIP: For easy document navigation on your computer, assign special icons to your commonly-used file folders. This way, you can quickly locate the folder visually, as opposed to scanning down the list of folder names and/or trying to remember what you named the folder and where it falls alphabetically.]
  2. The paper piles and random post-its on your desk are messing with your head. Every time you glance down, even slightly, you see that pile of stuff on your desk between you and your computer screen. At the very least, it reminds you of all the pending to-do’s that you’ve been putting off; at worst, it interrupts your focus and causes you to take longer to complete your current task. [TIP: To get papers off your desk, create a set of “TO-DO” files (like mine, right). Then whenever you have a piece of paper like a bill to pay, add it to your to-do list (I use toodledo.com for mine), and file away that paper so you don’t have to look at it again until it’s time to complete the task.]
  3. Your office is full of heaps of disorganized stuff, which impedes your work flow. If it takes you fifteen minutes to find a file, your stapler, or even worse, your phone, that’s a lot of productive work time lost. Add to that the frustration of having to dodge piles of stuff every time you need to leave the room or get up to get something that’s a few feet away, and you have a lot of compounding stress and drained energy, just from dealing with clutter.

Do you get where I’m going with this? Basically, any clutter that takes your focus off of the task at hand, makes your mind wander, or trips you up (literally!), is ultimately sabotaging your efforts to run an efficient, thriving business.

Have questions about how to maintain a clutter-free workspace? Have a liberation-from-clutter story you’d like to share? Leave a comment below…

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About Barbara Austin

As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Cathyhaden January 31, 2013, 11:26 pm

    To deal with clutter is not that messy , all you need is ” plan”. Important papers must have a “place” to go — a filing cabinet, a folder on your desk, etc. Non-important papers should be handled if needed (think a school reminder that you only need briefly), then go into the recycle or trash.

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