An organized workspace is a productive workspace. It is proven that visual clutter can negatively affect productivity. Creating a more productive work environment does not require complicated systems or expensive tools. All you really need is a pad of paper to keep you on task and help to remind you of your goal to foster more productive habits.

The first step to creating a more organized and productive mindset is to clean up your physical and digital workspaces. Plan one hour each day to clean until your physical and digital workspaces are cleared out. Once your workspace is neat and tidy, take some time at the end of each day to clean up, especially email, so that you can return to an organized office the next morning. It should not take more than a few minutes each day to accomplish this clean up if you do it every day.

When cleaning, become a minimalist. If you have folders full of paper, scan and save them to your computer. Use an app such as CamCard or FoxCard to scan business cards to your smartphone. Utilize drawers to store items from your desktop that you do not use throughout the day. This will reduce visual clutter while keeping extra pens, post-it notes, and extra notepads easily accessible.

In addition to a clean workspace, creating prioritized task lists for the day is key to staying organized and productive. There should be three task lists maintained: a weekly list, a daily list, and a someday/maybe list. On Friday afternoons, create your weekly list for the following week. The daily task list will then be created from this list at the end of each day.

Larger items on the weekly list can be broken down into smaller task items to be completed throughout the week. These smaller items can allow you to do many small tasks at the beginning of the day so that you can focus on larger tasks later on. Creating these lists at the completion of the day allows you to adjust your tasks based on the outcome of the day and begin each subsequent day ready to take action.

The someday/maybe list is where all of the great ideas or non-critical tasks can be written down for a day when you have extra time for something that could be delegated or worked on as a team. Writing down these ideas and tasks will free up your mind so that you can focus on the task at hand instead of constantly reminding yourself that at month’s end you would like to run a certain report or begin researching a specific item.

Becoming a productivity master requires organizational skills. Maintaining a clean workspace, both physically and on your computer, will remove visual clutter and allow you to find what you need quickly and easily. Creating prioritized lists at the end of each day will reduce mental clutter, which increases focus.

Michael Klein is a premier writer and speaker on all aspects of human capital.  As VP Operations for KDS Staffing, Inc., he has achieved industry-leading success. Michael was awarded, The New York State Small Business Growth Award; presented by Governor George Pataki.  Additionally, Michael has successfully grown and sold multiple firms. If you or your organization would like to discuss hiring needs, contact Michael at 646-350-3015 or

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