by Matt Alderton | October 25, 2012
Seventy-seven percent of Americans say being disorganized has a negative impact on their productivity, according to a 2011 survey by OfficeMax. Another 65 percent say disorder impacts their motivation.

If you want to get your work done more effectively and more efficiently, therefore — so that you can spend more time doing the things you love — you should start by cleaning up your office, according to Karen Leland, a contributor to the Intuit Small Business Blog.

"Papers piled high on a desktop, stacks of magazines crammed into a corner, disorganized drawers filled to the brim — this is the stuff of office clutter," Leland says. "It's not only unsightly, but also may hurt your productivity and, ultimately, your career."

A few ways to control your workspace clutter, according to Leland:

Practice "mise en place": "Chefs use this French term to describe an organizational method that aims to have 'a place for everything, and everything in its place,'" according to Leland. "One reason offices become so congested is that things that don't have a designated spot to return to and just get piled up on any available surface. To prevent this from happening, create a permanent home for every major item you use. When you're done using that item, put it back in its designated spot."

Store nonessential documents: "Despite the proliferation of online communication, most of us still don't work in paperless offices," Leland says. "One way to create some space is to go through your office files and piles and gather, box up and store all of the must-keep — but rarely used — documents lying around. This way you can access them whenever you need them, but they won't take up room day to day."

Purge: "Learn to make friends with your trash can and recycle bin," Leland says. "At least once a week, set aside 15 minutes to get rid of old magazines and newspapers, inkless pens, misshapen paperclips and broken office equipment. If an item is lurking that you don't use but is still in good shape, donate it to Goodwill or another charity for a tax write-off."

Get your cables under wraps: "In addition to not being paperless, most of our offices aren't completely wireless, either," Leland points out. "To tame your cable clutter, go to a hardware or office-supply store and pick up a selection of clips, clamps, ties and Velcro wraps that you can use to bundle various cables. Whenever possible, place cables out of the way, behind furniture, where they can't be seen and where you are less likely to trip over them."

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