Is a Tidier Desk Your Secret Weapon for Well-Being and Productivity?

efficiency productivity simplicity well-being

5 Ways a Clean Workspace Can Improve Well-Being and Productivity


(Before I jump into this week’s thoughts, I wanted to point out the two programs coming up later in January - so after you read the “Note,” be sure to scroll down, check those programs out, register, and pass them along to anyone you think might be interested! Okay, now on with the show!)

 I spent a lot of time at the end of last year tidying and organizing. “Out with the old, in with the new,” as they say! And that’s continued into the new year - I’m trying to take some time every day to sort through old papers, files, books, and other stuff that I just don’t need to make my workspace and home work better for me.

I’m an aspiring minimalist because I can’t ignore the benefits I’ve experienced in having less - less stuff, less clutter, and less to worry about so that I can focus on the things that really matter. As Joshua Becker, the founder of “Becoming Minimalist” says: Minimalism is the ”intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” 

(And, no, I haven’t already been this way. I’m definitely a work in progress in this area. I actually own the website addresses and for future tales of my journey toward more minimalist, focused, and intentional working and living - maybe those will be my retirement blogs!) But I digress …

There is something so freeing and revitalizing about decluttering, organizing, and setting yourself up for the mental clarity and sense of peace and focus that comes from a clear workspace - and psychology and social science backs that up as well.

In the world of law, where stress runs high, every detail matters, and time is usually in short supply, maintaining a tidy desk and workspace might just be a secret weapon to improving your productivity, outcomes, and mental health.  

Did you know that every second Monday of January, there’s a day called “National Clean Off Your Desk Day,” highlighting the profound connection between a well-organized workspace and well-being, focus, and productivity? Seems like perfect timing as we put away the holiday decorations and set ourselves up for a successful year ahead!

Let's dive into five compelling reasons why keeping a clean desk and workspace can contribute to your success in the legal field.


  • Enhanced Focus: A clutter-free desk sets the stage for concentration and mental clarity. Lawyers and legal professionals often deal with intricate cases and situations that require unwavering attention to detail. A neat workspace minimizes distractions, allowing you to dive deep into your work. This heightened focus can lead to more accurate analysis, stronger arguments, and, ultimately, greater success in your professional endeavors.



  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Legal professionals frequently face high-pressure situations, tight deadlines, and demanding clients. A cluttered desk can add to these stressors. However, on National Clean Off Your Desk Day (and every day!), taking a moment to declutter and organize can be a therapeutic act. It promotes a sense of control and order, reducing stress and anxiety levels. A clean desk becomes a calm oasis amid the hustle and bustle of our legal profession.



  • Greater Efficiency: Time is precious for all of us, and a clean desk can be a valuable time-saving tool. When everything has its place, you can access the necessary documents and resources more quickly and efficiently. This streamlined workflow not only boosts productivity but also grants you more time to focus on what really matters most. 



  • Improved Decision-Making: A clutter-free desk can lead to improved decision-making. When your workspace is tidy, your mind tends to follow suit. This can result in clearer thinking, more creative problem-solving, and the ability to make well-informed choices, all of which are essential qualities for lawyers and legal professionals who deal with complex issues every day that require quick, accurate decision-making. 



  • Improved Well-being: Your work environment significantly impacts your overall well-being. A clean and organized desk can foster a sense of tranquility and control, creating a positive work atmosphere. This sense of well-being can lead to greater job satisfaction and resilience against burnout—crucial factors in sustaining long-term success.


National Clean Off Your Desk Day serves as a reminder of the tangible benefits that come with a clean desk. It elevates your focus, reduces stress, enhances efficiency, bolsters your professional image, and contributes to your overall well-being. 

Our days are crazy and complex enough - help your future self out by keeping your desk, files, and calendar as tidy as possible. Give it a shot and embrace the transformative power of a tidy workspace. Let the momentum you create propel you toward greater well-being, focus, and productivity - and it all could start with a tidy desk!

Wishing you peace, clarity, and focus in the new year!

PS: In case you’re curious, some research shows there is a flip side to the benefits of a tidy desk when it comes to creativity. Kathleen Vohs, PhD, found that “working in a messy room seems to help them try new things and come up with creative ideas.” So there are definitely times when being a little messy can get your creative juices flowing! Read more here if you are intrigued: Tidy Desk or Messy Desk? Each Has Its Benefits – Association for Psychological Science – APS