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Creating a Minimalist Workspace for Improved Productivity

Creating a Minimalist Workspace for Improved Productivity

A simplified, minimalist environment has many benefits. Not only do we have more space but it can help improve our efficiency and effectiveness too. In this guest post by Melanie Manard from The Conscious Insider, we explore some ideas for creating a minimalist workspace for improved productivity and focus.


In a world where we are constantly bombarded with stimuli, finding focus and increasing productivity can seem like a daunting task. A recent study by Microsoft has revealed that people’s ability to concentrate has decreased to just eight seconds on average, even lower than the notorious nine-second attention span of goldfish.

One solution that has gained popularity in recent years is minimalism, particularly in the context of creating a minimalist workspace. Clutter can be a distraction, pulling our attention away from the task at hand. How many times have we sat down to work, only to be sidetracked by something unrelated?

The objective of minimalism is to clear physical and mental space, allowing us to focus on the essential.

In this article, we’ll delve into the advantages of a minimalist workspace and provide tips on how you can create one that suits your needs.

Creating a minimalist workspace


In a recent publication by the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, a study on minimalism has shed light on its potential benefits. According to the results, “All participants reported that minimalism provided various wellbeing benefits.” The study also identified five key themes that emerged from the participants’ experiences: autonomy, competence, mental space, awareness, and positive emotions. These findings highlight the potential for minimalism to positively impact one’s work.

Here are some benefits of a minimalist workspace.

1. Increase the quality of your work and improve time management

A study published in Psychological Science has shown that distractions not only take up time, but they also have a negative impact on the quality of people’s work. A team of psychological scientists from George Mason University found that distractions can lead to degraded performance, further emphasising the importance of minimising disruptions in order to maximise productivity.

In addition to the impact of distractions, a cluttered workspace can also hinder effective time management. It’s all too easy to lose track of time and spend longer than necessary searching for items when the workspace is disorganised. By decluttering the workspace and implementing a minimalist approach, individuals can improve their ability to focus, stay on task, and manage their time more effectively, ultimately leading to better quality work.

2. Reduce stress

A cluttered workspace can easily contribute to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. However, organising the workspace and removing clutter can create a more calming environment, reducing stress levels and improving overall well-being. Multiple scientific studies have emphasised the negative impact of clutter on mental health, with one study indicating that “clutter can also induce a physiological response, including increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

In addition to the negative impact on mental health, an excess of physical possessions can also contribute to feelings of stress and overwhelm. This can lead to decreased satisfaction with life, as evidenced by a study among older adults which found a significant decrease in life satisfaction among those experiencing clutter problems. By embracing minimalism and focusing on the essential possessions, individuals can reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being.

3. Better health

A cluttered workspace can accumulate dust, mold, and other allergens. Startling research has revealed that the average keyboard is a breeding ground for bacteria, with University of Arizona researchers finding that it can harbour up to 400 times more bacteria than a typical toilet seat.

By prioritising cleanliness and organisation in the workspace, individuals can promote a healthier and more productive work environment.

Creating a minimalist workspace


In order to streamline your workspace, take inspiration from minimalism experts who offer helpful tips for decluttering. According to Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, authors of Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, it’s possible to categorise all of our belongings into three piles: essentials, non-essentials, and junk. Essentials refer to items that we absolutely need, such as food and clothing. Non-essentials, on the other hand, are things that are not strictly necessary, but do enhance our lives, like a comfortable bed or a bookshelf. Finally, junk refers to items that we like, but which don’t serve any particular purpose or bring us joy.

Another helpful rule of thumb is the 90/90 rule. Before deciding whether to keep or toss an object, ask yourself if you’ve used it in the last 90 days and if you plan to use it in the next 90 days.

When it comes to making new purchases, it’s also important to exercise restraint. Ask yourself if the item in question costs more than $30. If so, consider whether you can go without it for the next 30 hours. If it costs more than $100, wait for a full month before making a decision. These simple strategies can help you create a workspace that is functional, organised, and stress-free.

1. Declutter your space

  • If you’re looking to create a minimalist workspace, it’s important to identify and get rid of unnecessary items. Take some time to carefully consider each item and ask yourself when was the last time you used it and how often you really need it.
  • When it comes to your desk, only essential items should be kept on it. Distracting items should be removed in order to create a more focused environment. It’s also a good idea to clear the area around your workspace by removing any unnecessary furniture and minimising decorations like posters and frames.

2. Declutter your digital space

  • Keep only essential tech devices and get rid of outdated or rarely used ones.
  • Consider using wireless devices to reduce clutter and eliminate unnecessary cables and cords.
  • Regularly remove unused apps and files from your devices to free up space and improve organisation.
  • Use only necessary applications to minimise digital clutter and distractions.
  • Turn off notifications for non-essential apps to reduce interruptions and increase focus.
  • Use productivity apps, such as time trackers or task managers, to help you stay focused and manage your workload efficiently.

3. Organise your decluttered space with multi-functional furniture

  • Maximise your workspace with multi-functional furniture! Opt for a chair with built-in storage or a footrest to keep your space clutter-free. A bookshelf that can also serve as a room divider is also a great way to create more room for your workstation.
  • Make the most of your lighting by choosing a desk lamp that doubles as a charging station. And if you need more storage, consider using a storage ottoman as a seat and storage solution.

4. Maximise efficiency and personalise 

  • To create an ideal workspace, start by optimising lighting. Whenever possible, choose a location close to a window to benefit from natural light. Studies have shown that natural lighting can improve mood, boost alertness, reduce stress, and increase productivity. Additionally, adjust the temperature to a level that helps you focus.
  • Make sure to keep the workspace open and free from clutter. Follow Marie Kondo’s advice and only keep items that bring joy such as motivational quotes or artwork.
  • Plants can also increase productivity by purifying the air and adding a touch of nature to the workspace. Consider adding low-maintenance plants such as succulents or air plants to your desk or shelves.
  • Investing in quality office furniture, such as an ergonomic chair and desk, can also improve your productivity and overall health.


Melanie Manard is the founder of The Conscious Insider, a lifestyle blog focused on slow living, sustainability and self-care.

You can usually find her reading, cooking or riding her bike.


To start decluttering and simplifying your home, why not get your copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit packed full of tips and advice to help you clear clutter and keep it away. Pop your details in the box below to get your copy today!