This is something most executives and entrepreneurs rarely think about.
But in my opinion there’s a strong correlation between a tidy environment and business wealth.
In fact I’d go far as to say, if we perform in a consistently untidy environment we condemn ourselves to achieving at a much lower level than we are capable of.
Why? Because a tidy environment improves how you think.
1. It makes your mind calmer and clearer.
We’ve all had times when we are flustered and disorganised in our thinking. In this mental state problems seem hard to solve, and obstacles appear large and difficult.
But I’ve found a very strange thing. If instead of trying to overcome the problem we take a break and spend half an hour tidying our desk and getting our immediate surroundings clear and organised, soon after our thinking becomes much more clearer.
We feel less frazzled and overcome by the enormity of our workload, and things get solved and completed faster. Haven’t you also found that to be true?
2. It increases your sense of being in control.
There’s loads of research that shows that humans feel much happier the more in control the believe they are. (Read ‘Control Theory’ by William Glasser for more on this area). When your immediate environment is clean and in order, we feel that we are more in charge and on top of things. Confidence increases and mood lifts. Then once we feel better we tend to tackle our work with force and optimism and soon we gain real momentum.
3. It strengthens our self esteem.
The work of Dr Nathaniel Branden (and many others) shows there is a powerful connection between the level of our self esteem and our ability to perform at a high level. But it’s hard to feel like a champion when you work in a disorganised pig sty of an office.
But take the time each day to get your papers in order and keep your desk neat and pretty soon you feel more like a winner.
After all, there are very few leaders in business with messy desks (check the pages of Forbes for photos of top CEO’s offices and you’ll see what I mean).
4. It improves our image.
Not only does a tidy environment make us feel good, it makes us look good. If clients or staff see your office they will think less of you if it’s constantly messy. (I know of one highly successful advertising agency owner who decided not to hire an architect once he saw how disorganised his office was).
When you work in a neat environment it sends the message to all around you that you are competent, organised, focused and in charge. And that’s exactly what clients want you to be.
So before you dive into another mountain of work, stop and get your environment in order. It may feel like you’re not working, but (for the reasons above) you are probably doing some of your most important work of all.