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My work has led me to believe that clutter, whether electronic or physical, but especially clutter of one’s work space, results in stress, because it sends messages to the owner of the clutter that they are not in control, that they are overwhelmed, that there may be things buried in the clutter that are important and need their attention. Clutter is an example of being out of control of the details that come in the form of paper and “stuff.”

Studies have shown that people who exert more control over their lives are more likely to describe themselves as happy.  Personally I find that it not only makes me happy, but also productive, and my experience with my clients also confirms this.

I recently reached out to Dr. Craig Knight, of the University of Exeter, to ask him about a study on this topic that he conducted with Dr. S. Alexander Haslam that was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. The study measured the well-being and productivity of employees based on their control over their work environments.

Drs. Knight and Haslam explored the affects on productivity of three different approaches to office organization: lean, enriched, and empowered. The lean approach prescribes a work space free from everything except that which is required to get the job done – a rather austere environment devoid of decoration, ornamentation, or personal touches. The enriched approach suggests that plants, art, and other furnishings (i.e., an office “decorated” by corporate owners or managers ) create a superior environment in terms of worker well-being and productivity. The empowered office is one that puts workers in charge of the decor of the office, providing input into common spaces and having total control over their own work space.

Their experiments led them to draw the conclusion that the empowered workers report both greater well-being and productivity:

In both experiments, well-being and productivity were enhanced by enriching a space…and then further enhanced by empowering participants…within the same working environment. However, disempowering participants…had the effect of significantly compromising both well-being and productivity.

One of the greatest difficulties of the technological advancements of the 21st century is that it leads us to a life so full of opportunity, information, and communication, that we can be left feeling like we are at the mercy of all of the details necessary to run this life successfully: working hard to simply keep up with all of the commitments, communication and information that bombards us relentlessly. Through, I teach a work-and-life-management process called the Empowered Productivity System, which is designed to put you back in the driver’s seat of your life and work. I take this approach based on the belief that the more control you feel you have over the details of your life, the happier and less stressed you will be. And that’s a much better way to go through life.  =)

To learn more about how I can help you turn chaos into control, feel free to browse the site or call me at 424-226-2872.

Thanks for reading!