7 Simple Reasons to Declutter Your Workspace

When I left my last position, little did I know I’d be saying farewell to not only my coworkers, but also my beloved cubicle.  Beloved?  You bet.  The truth is I LOVED my cubicle. I had whimsical photos and images tacked on to the wall, a whiteboard to track things that need tracking, and plenty of drawers to hide things I’d never use or refer to again.  Out of sight, out of mind, that’s what I say.  Important documentation was left on the desk for easy access.  I even had a guest chair for the occasional visitor.

Now I’m at Pressboard, where each of us have a laptop, smartphone, table and chair. That’s it. And rather than feeling limited, I feel liberated. Here are a few reasons why you should consider trimming the fat from your own personal office space:

1. The cloud is a wonderful thing

I was tied to a cubicle thanks to the perceived need for documents on paper and software saved on a local server.  Now, all of our required documents, contracts, charts and spreadsheets are now up in the cloud and can be accessed anytime, anywhere using web-based apps.  Pressboard uses Box for our cloud storage. It offers an offline cache, syncs to both Mac and PC users, and doesn’t consume massive amounts of local hard drive space in addition to cloud space. We also use OneDrive for archiving old files, along with various apps for accounting and CRM.  My entire office is now inside my briefcase.

2. You’ll be happier using your own technology

I think we can all remember a time when you were handed a piece of outdated equipment that may or may not still function properly, and all you could do was smile and say “Thanks boss”.  Pressboard, like many startups these days, is a BYOD company.  And if you’re particular about your technology like I am, this is way better.  Many of us have our personal preferences when it comes to smartphones, laptops, mice, keyboards, speakers, etc.  A BYOD setup generally means you can use the exact pieces of equipment you already know you like, whether it’s iPhone, Android, desktop, laptop, Mac or PC.  It also eliminates any need to carry around something for work and something for home, like two smartphones.  Meanwhile, Pressboard takes care of all my software licensing and offers tech support when needed.

3. You’ll discover new ways to perform old tasks more efficiently

From administrative tasks to collaboration, there’s an app for that.  And chances are, it will make your life easier or more productive.  My need for frequent meetings, email chains and phone calls has been reduced since we started using Slack.  Even better, I’m now always up to date with my expenses thanks to Xero.   Submitting an expense report used to mean keeping a pile of receipts, filling out worksheets, and making photocopies of everything.  Thanks to Xero, I simply punch the details into an app on my iPhone, take a photo of the receipt, and submit!

4. You’ll save trees

It’s easy to get into the habit of printing something when there are several printers only steps away from your desk.  Now, I only print those few documents that require close proofreading.  Because I’m printing a small fraction of what I used to, I’m saving paper and making a tiny contribution to sustainability.  While some days I miss the tactile feel of paper in my hands, the gaping hole I feared would be created in my life I feared has yet to surface.

5. It’s one step closer to a healthy work-life-balance

When you’re no longer chained to an office cubicle, you’ll find it easier to spend time away from the office getting life’s other tasks accomplished.  Pressboard supports flexible hours, allowing us to work from mobile locations.  It only works because we have the right technology in place.  I still spend most days at the office with my colleagues, but on those days when a change of scenery is beneficial, I’m now that guy with a Macbook at Starbucks.

6. You can be surrounded by other companies doing very cool things

Without the need for office clutter, Pressboard is able to leverage shared co-working space. That means we work alongside other startups doing some very cool things—like Payso.  There’s also freelancers and various consultants who use the same space, making for a great office culture.

7. The pleasure of seeing a clean desk every morning

At any given time, on my desk was a keyboard, monitor, mouse, mousepad, file folders, desk caddy, lamp, speakers, calculator, stapler, scotch, scotch tape dispenser, paper and a coffee mug.  There was no space left for actual work.  Now, the only thing left on my desk is an Apple display, keyboard, mouse and scotch (some things shouldn’t be considered clutter).  Each morning, there’s something nice about seeing a clean desk, reminding me of a fresh start and a reset from the prior day. Call me Mr. Decluttered.

I’m the first to admit that once you get into a system and routine, moving to another one can be daunting.  But if you embrace the technology and forget the saying “old habits die hard” you’ll be better off. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Dog at Neil's desk

 

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