The Secret To Have a Productive Workspace

By Carlos Oporto on October 17, 2015
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productive-workspace-secret

Your workspace is very important in your daily life. It’s an environment where you spend a bunch of time of your day.

A great advantage as an entrepreneur is that you can have more control of this space.

If you are spending many hours in one place, is better to optimize its performance. You are going to do this in order to increase your productivity.

My great secret to increasing my productivity is to have a clean and tidy workspace. By increasing my productivity, I can achieve my goals in less time.

Few moments ago I finished tidying up my desk job that is located in a room that I use as an office in my house. This is something I have been doing a long time ago. To always work in a clean and organized environment.

Have a clean and tidy workspace. Click to Tweet

A few years ago I detected the moments when I felt more productive. And most of them occurred when my home office was clean and tidy. This pattern was repeated a lot of times.

It was then that I realized that this was no coincidence. Really clutter and disorganization were affecting my productivity.

Since then I always suggested to maintain a minimum of order in my desk and always keep it clean.

What is a Workspace?

This depends on each entrepreneur and the nature of their work. Some people are more comfortable using laptops and adapting their workspace as they see fit.

Others have a workspace set in a formal office. With a dedicated desk, bookcases and office furniture. You can also replicate this type of office from your home.

If you work from home it is best to have a room dedicated for your workspace. So you don’t have many distractions. And also helps to separate family life from work.

dedicated-workspace

No matter the type of workspace that you have. The order and organization apply in any work environment.

Begin To Organize Your Workspace

I remember times where I had spent long working hours. And not just hours but weeks where there was too much work nonstop.

Without realizing it, my work environment began to accumulate a number of papers and useless things that hindered my thoughts.

The moment I found a pizza under my couch was the day I decided I had to change some habits.

After that, I started to make daily routines sorting and cleaning my workspace.

Organize and clean your workspace regularly to increase your productivity. Click to Tweet

Before starting work every morning, I do my daily organization routine. I spend about 5 to 10 minutes of my time to leave my workspace in order.

I classify all the papers on my desk and dispose of everything that have no future use. Pens, papers, cables, everything can be filed and organized. There is no sense wasting 15 minutes of your time looking for a pen that doesn’t appear. Having an always organized environment fixes that.

A file organizer will be very useful in your workspace so you can classify documents and objects that are not being used at the time.

A successful entrepreneur has an organized business. Click to Tweet

I even organized the lists of income and expenses. I put all the bills in folders categorized by color and years for easy access.

So when it comes time to file taxes I don’t have to spend long hours classifying these documents.

desktop-folder-organizer

You see I don’t spend too much time on these activities every day. I prefer to do it this way, so I don’t let disorder to accumulate. Also not having to spend long hours on a weekend for cleaning and organization is a plus.

The Digital Workspace

The order and organization not only applies in the physical world. In the digital world, there is also too much clutter.

Inside my laptop and workstation, I order all files by folders. Also, all projects are categorized by date making access to the file I need a little bit easier.

folder-organizer

Each file and folder have a specific name. So I don’t to open the file to see what’s inside.

For my site NeatBlog I have a dedicated folder in Dropbox. This folder has subfolders with clear names for better organization.

Dropbox syncs all your files to the cloud so don’t have to worry about losing an important file again.

dropbox-folder-cloud-backup

Ordering folders and files have helped me save a lot of time over the years.

My daily routine also includes my digital desktop. Just watch how clean the desktop from my Mac Book Pro is.

My Secret Temporary Folder: Workspace

As you can notice on my desktop the only folder I have here is called Workspace.

clean-desktop-macbook

Each document (image, Word file or video) that I use when I’m working goes through a filter with two different outcomes.

The first resolution happens if my file is important and must be archived. In this case, I move it immediately to their appropriate folder.

The second option occurs only if I need that file temporarily. This is the case for files that you don’t need in the future. When I only need a file temporarily, I placed it inside Workspace, the only folder on my desktop.

The temporary Workspace folder has been very useful. I know beforehand that all the contents of that folder can be deleted at any time. Without any danger of losing an important file.

The first thing that I do to when I turn my laptop on is to check if the Workspace folder is empty. If it has any contents I proceed to delete all files to always keep a clean workspace.

clean-workspace-folder

I don’t spend time reviewing each file and seeing if it’s worth keeping it or not, since with this process I did that beforehand. Everything that goes inside the folder may be discarded immediately without fear of deleting something important.

Send your most important files to a folder synced with the cloud as backup. Click to Tweet

This is another technique to optimize the time and that will help you be more productive when you’re working.

I’ve seen countless disorganized desktops causing people to lose time searching for files.

It has happened me before that I have requested a logo to one of my clients and arrived the next week. It took so long because they didn’t know where this file was located. If you keep an organized digital workspace you will not have to spend much time searching for a file ever again.

This motivated me to write this post and share with you this daily practice so you can increase your productivity in your workspace.

Increase Your Productivity Sorting your Email

In the digital age we live we have too much information and digital archives around us, that includes your email.

Another good practice that I make every day is to keep my inbox always empty. But be careful, don’t go and delete all your emails in your inbox. There are better ways and techniques that will help you keep a nice and clean inbox without deleting all your emails.

If you use Gmail you can organize your inbox in a very simple way. With the mighty Archive button, you can store all emails in a special folder. So that they won’t show up again in your main screen of your email.

gmail-archive-button

Using this technique no email gets deleted, they are just sent to a hidden folder. You can still find all archived emails using the search function.

I’ll tell you a tip that will help you in your quest to have a zero email inbox. Go to your Gmail and from the search function input the following query: “from:twitter.com”. You will get all email notifications that Twitter sends you.

buscar-correos-gmail

Now check the box with “Select all conversations that match this search” indicator.
gmail-select-all-conversations

Mark them all as read.

gmail-mark-as-read-all-conversations

And archive all those emails.
gmail-archive-all-conversations

This removes all that clutter of hundreds of unread emails.

You will notice how your emails get significantly reduced in your inbox. Do this also with Facebook and other subscriptions that you may have.

If you have a smartphone this task can be even more enjoyable. Since I installed Mailbox on my iPhone I can organize my emails anywhere I am. There is also an Android version if you need it.

mailbox-ios-details

With just the swipe of your finger, you can mark as read and archive an email at the same time. It’s certainly a time-saver if you receive many emails.

It’s very easy to organize your mail with this type of apps that helps you clean your digital environment and increase your productivity.

The feature I like the most of this app is to be able to archive all emails. And not only they can be archived but also organized in lists. You can create lists of “To-do”,  “Read Later”, “Buy”.

 

organize-email-listsMailBox has a nice option to postpone emails so you can read them later.

postpone-email

The only emails I leave in my Inbox are those with pending tasks ahead. This way I can transform my email in a task organizer.

With all these tools, you have no excuse for not organizing your email and have a clean inbox. So you can focus in the upcoming emails and those that are really important for you.

The Benefits Of Organizing Your Workspace

Keeping a digital and physical organized workspace will bring you many benefits:

  • Improve your time management.
  • Quickly find any file.
  • Focus on one task at a time.
  • Your room/office will look more professional.
  • You will reduce your stress by having more control over your space.

There are many studies showing that working in a clean environment helps you be more productive. And being more productive will help you get work done in less time.

This happens because how our minds work. When you see so many stacked and disorganized objects (sheets, leaves, emails, files) we lose focus and concentration of the main task that lies ahead.

A neat and clean workspace will help you be more productive.

By increasing your productivity, a lot of good things happen. You’ll soon realize that you’ll feel better about your work environment. Therefore, you will feel better yourself.

This will help you keep a positive mind towards your entrepreneurship and work more efficiently without many distractions.

Leave A Space To Relax

It may sound contradictory to everything I have said. But being able to relax and clear your mind off your workspace is important. In my workspace, I have a space dedicated to fun.

It’s important that you relax and work with a cool head. Working 16 hours straight in front of your computer without any break will do no good to your health and productivity. Even if you have everything tidy.

Make an activity that relaxes so you can go to work again with more strength. Click to Tweet

I always try to have some fun and relaxation. You can see 20 minutes of your favorite series after 4 hours of continuous work. Or you can go for a short walk to clear your head. The important thing is to set times for this so you don’t do it while you’re working.

Is It Worth The Extra Effort?

Maybe you’re wondering if all this housekeeping is worth it. Because after all it takes some time to perform all this organization.

As a tip don’t take as an activity you do over a long period of time but as something that you’re always constantly performing. If you receive an email and you do not need it, file it immediately and do not procrastinate.

Same with papers, boxes, and objects that no longer have any value. For almost the same time that it takes to accumulate, you could always sort them. So you don’t see it as an activity that will require much time.

When you download documents on the Internet you can order them immediately. If they are important then put them in an appropriate folder. If you just need the file temporarily then sent it to the Workspace folder which is emptied each morning.

By being more productive you will get work done and in less time. Click to Tweet

And we know that time is valuable for an entrepreneur. An organized workspace will let you create more work achieving better results in the future.

Conclusion

By keeping a clean and organized workspace I can concentrate better on my work each morning. The organization helps me to be more productive when writing articles, promoting my websites and having new business ideas.

I recommend you start practicing these techniques every day so you can be more productive. It will help in your journey of being a successful entrepreneur.

Resources Mentioned on this post:

  • Gmail – My main email client.
  • Mailbox – Great app for iPhone, iPad, OSX and Android.

What other ideas do you have in mind to stay organized and increase your productivity? Let me know in the comment section below.

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About Carlos Oporto

Hi, I am the founder of NeatBlog. I have been an entrepreneur for more than 10 years and want to share my journey and knowledge with you. Let's talk on: Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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