Today’s quote is from a good friend and fellow organizer in Connecticut. His name is Matt Baier (Matt Baier Organizing LLC), and he is known to frequently say, “Your number one organizing tool is a clear surface.” Talk about a quote you can put into action!
It isn’t hard to see why this is a popular piece of advice when it comes to organizing and productivity. Have you ever sat down to work and found your desk so covered with stuff that it was hard to carve out a place to put your materials down? Or maybe your worksurface has been so cluttered that you that you have had a hard time focusing on the task at hand? I’ve noticed that it is common for children and spouses to prefer working at the kitchen table or island because it is the only large, empty surface in the home.
In order to maximize your productivity, keeping your surfaces clear is a wonderful and worthwhile habit. Try to keep only the things that are absolutely necessary stored on a worksurface, such as the things you touch multiple times a day. On a desk, these items might include your computer, a small container with a few pens, a vertical sorter with critical papers, and your phone. On the kitchen counter, you may have the coffee pot, a bottle of olive oil, and a crock with your most commonly used utensils.
In general, try to limit decorative items on worksurfaces. Utilize your walls and bulletin boards as alternatives. Additionally, always challenge yourself to ask, “What am I storing here that I could store somewhere else, such as on/in a credenza, in a drawer, in a closet, or on a shelf?” Push yourself to keep editing until you arrive at the bare minimum.
What surface could you clear today to make yourself more productive?