How can you make your work area more attractive so that you enjoy being there and can focus specifically on the work at hand? The more clutter you eliminate, the more peaceful the setting will be, and, therefore, the more productive your time will be.
You may consider a photo of loved ones as a pleasant reminder of why you work so hard, or as a conversation-starter to get acquainted with new clients. However, photos can quickly accumulate, lining windowsills and shelves, tacked to walls, and taking up valuable desk space. These photos have accumulated over the years, as new ones are added without replacing the older ones. If you like photos, keep just one or two current ones.
How often do you take something from a vendor's display table just because it is free? Then you drop it on your desk where it remains. How many stress balls or letter openers do you need?
When you have too many, they go into the drawers, onto the windowsills, etc. More than one has no useful purpose.
Do you really need the little Eiffel Tower from Las Vegas, or the Florida seashell? Sometimes these end up in the office because they do not fit into the house décor.
They can encourage chitchat as you exchange vacation stories, and then you wonder why interruptions take up so much of the day.
Framed degrees and licenses lend credibility to an individual when they relate directly to the business being transacted.
However, spreading around all the certificates you gather from continuing education classes gets to be overkill.
Choose to display only the most significant documents if you're in a situation where clients visit your workplace.
Books and CDs
Any books that are not related to your business and that are not used as references should be moved to another area, taken home or donated. If you ordered a set of tapes for your business, have listened to them, and know that you will not do so again, consider selling them at a reduced price to someone else in the field. If you want to keep them for reference, find a way to store and catalog them instead of leaving individual disks strewn around.
Do you have an older printer stuck in a corner? Box unused computer hardware and store it. Donate older computer parts and get a tax deduction for a contribution to a local charity.
What about the extra hard drive, cables and phone cords? One spare of each item should be enough. How many stray CDs are laying around, and you have no idea what's on them?
Drawings by children and grandchildren are precious, but covering a bulletin board or the wall of an office does not lend itself to a professional feeling. If you want to display one or two sketches, frame and hang them. Rotate them periodically.
Tools laying around left over from a job site or related to a small repair do not need to stay in your desk area. Look around and see how many things are not related to the type of work you actually do in your office. This desk area should not be the company's storage space.
Now apply these same ideas to your home. Is there too much clutter in certain areas? What can you do to change that?
Anything surrounding you that is not useful, beautiful or treasured by you should be disposed of in some manner because clutter is messy, inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing. It affects your space, your time and your peace of mind.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is author of "Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey." She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. Reach her at (602) 412-3876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.