Health Advocate Blog

To stress less, keep a tidy desk

A cluttered, disorganized desk affects more than the physical space you sit in each workday—it can also affect your stress level. Keeping your workspace tidy and organized can help you feel less stressed and work more efficiently, helping you be more successful and productive at work. Try these tips to get started!

De-clutter your desk. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, looking at too many things at once can hinder your ability to focus. These tips can help you spruce up your workspace:

  • Make a To-Do folder for any paperwork or reports you need to address
  • File or toss any other papers that have piled up on your desk
  • Clear your desk of clutter
  • Consider adding something you like to look at—a photo of a loved one, a desk calendar with jokes or animal photos, etc. It can help keep you motivated!
  • Also consider adding a small plant or two—studies show the color green can inspire creativity!

Clean up your digital desktop, too. If you have digital files scattered all over your computer desktop, it may be difficult to find what you need—plus, it may be overwhelming to look at. Try these tips to get organized:

  • Create a system of folders and make sure that all files make it into a folder
  • If there are programs you don’t use much but that are hanging out on your desktop, consider making a folder for them, too
  • If your email inbox is cluttered, take steps to get it to Inbox Zero

Get a planner. Life is busy. There’s always so much to do—and so many details to potentially forget. Get a planner to organize and keep track of things like:

  • Important work deadlines
  • Appointments with health or financial professionals
  • Plans with friends and family
  • Errands you need to run

Keep your planner with you whether you’re at work or home so that you can access it at any time. You may feel most comfortable with a paper planner, or you could search for a calendar app that meets your needs. (With calendar apps, you may have the ability to set digital reminders to help you plan ahead and be prepared.)

Set appointments with yourself. No matter how neat and tidy your desk is, it’s good to step away from it for a few minutes every so often, as your schedule permits, to walk or stretch your legs. Not only is fitting in a little physical activity good for your health, but stepping away for a moment can also help you clear your head and allow you to return to your desk feeling refreshed. If you have trouble remembering to get up from your desk, set appointments in your calendar, or reminders on your smartphone, to do so. Treat it as a priority, just like you’d treat any other meeting. Not sure what type of physical activity to fit in? Here are a few ideas you can do quickly, even on a busy day:

  • Take a 5-minute walk in your building or outside
  • Walk up and down a staircase a few times
  • Stand up and stretch your neck, back, arms, and/or legs
  • Walk in place at your desk for a couple minutes

For Health Advocate members

If you are a Health Advocate member with access to our EAP+Work/Life program, call us for more help reducing stress, being successful at work, achieving work/life balance, and more!

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