Compliments of Tomas Carillo via Flickr

“Think first about what you want and where you’re going.” [Don Aslett].

Organization reduces stress because it enhances your reputation (Hayes, 1993). Moreover, McCormack (1985) argued that your boss is judging you on three criteria: (1) commitment; (2) attention to detail; and (3) immediate follow-up. Inadequacy with regard to organization makes the fulfillment of any of these three items difficult. McCormack further explains: “I believe the way an office looks – how neat and clean it is, how streamlined it is set up – can have a profound effect on how quickly things get done…; When you walk into an office that looks disorganized, you start to feel disorganized” (1985, pp. 239-240). Feeling overwhelmed can easily set in once clutter, or “life plaque” (Blanke, 2010) has begun to accumulate. The elimination of stuff brings clarity into a space in which chaos has been eliminated.

Havoc induces a lackadaisical attitude. Slovenliness on the job can slowly result in missed meetings, late arrivals, projects left unfinished, and lost opportunities. The end result can be a tarnished image: “You will put your all important reputation at risk. Prospects and associates might not say anything, but they’re often resistant to doing business with other people who appear out of control” (Hayes, 1993, p. 56). If perception is reality, then disarray can translate into a passing over of plumb assignments and in career stagnation. 

The peace of mind which arises from your office running like a well oiled machine can be transformative. Think of how much better your office would look if seldom used items were stored within drawers, and if things that were visually pleasing were within eyeshot. Domar and Dreher (2000, p. 256) urge us to “…make your work space your own, with pictures, paintings, books, or other artifacts that generate a sense of calm, remind of the world outside work, or remind you that you belong where you are.” You probably have mementos that could be displayed if your own unnecessary items were not clogging your bookshelves. According to Phelan (2007) being “overstuffed” is actually a type of possession in that it robs us of our psychic freedom.

 The collective result of increased personal efficiency can manifest in: 
                        (1) enhanced organizational productivity;

                        (2) reputational capital; and

                        (3) a greater number of available resources. 

Streamline, consolidate, and continually update your workspace and processes to decrease stress and raise your productivity quotient.


Blanke, G. (2010). Throw out fifty things: Clear the clutter, find your life. New York: Hachette Book Group. 

Carlomagno, M. (2008). Secrets of simplicity: Learn to live better with less. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC. 

Domar, A. & Dreher, H. (2000). Self-nurture: Learning to care for yourself as effectively as you care for everyone else. New York: Penguin Books.

 Hayes, L. O. (1993). Remove the mess, reduce the stress. Restaurant Hospitality, 77, 56

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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