The outside disorder is often the expression of inner chaos. While it is true that some people are more creative in disorganized environments, to the majority of the mortals, order brings them countless scientifically proven benefits.
A study conducted at the University of New Mexico revealed that disorder generates more negative experiences in the environments. Not only does it make it difficult for us to find things generating frustration, but the feeling of overblowing provokes negative emotions and feelings.
Another research conducted at Princeton University revealed that disorder and chaos limit our ability to concentrate, reducing our brain’s ability to process information. The conclusions of these neuroscientists were clear: if we want to concentrate and process information effectively, it is better to clear the workplace.
Therefore, it is not strange that very old philosophical systems, such as Japanese Zen, give great importance to order. In fact, they have a specific term, samu, to refer to the ability to perform the simplest tasks of daily life with concentration, energy and order, as a kind of meditation.
The 5S methodology to work better
The 5S is a method of organizing work spaces in which the principles of the samu are applied. These principles were developed in the manufacturing industry of Japan but then some large Western companies began to apply them to help people optimize their work.
These are the five principles that make up the 5S methodology:
Seiri – Classification
It implies ordering the workspace to avoid possible obstacles when we have to get down to work. According to this principle, we should discard all unusable objects and remove them from the visual field to prevent them from becoming distractions.
Seiton – Order
It refers to maintaining ordered the working tools and classify them according to their use, so that we can find them when needed and we do not waste precious time. If you work on the computer, for example, following a system that allows you to organize folders and documents will save you time and energy, as well as a lot of frustration. In this way you will feel that everything flows better.
Seiso – Cleaning
The 5S methodology encourages us to clean our workspace every day. It is not very helpful to put order if we do not take care of keeping it and distracting elements accumulate. Do not forget that working in a comfortable and pleasant space will make everything easier.
Seiketsu – Standardization
It involves establishing procedures and schedules to ensure the consistency of the work. It consists of creating new habits that are effective, not only in terms of productivity but also for our mental health, and incorporate them into our routine. In this way the work will flow much faster and with less effort.
Shitsuke – Self-discipline
At this point, we must make sure that habits do not win the battle, turning the work into something tedious and boring. In fact, it is about reviewing the results we are obtaining and analyzing what we could do to improve them.
As you can see, these principles can be applied to all kinds of jobs, not only to be more productive but to work better, making that the ideas flow and our mind is less saturated.
Roster, C. A. et. Al. (2016) The dark side of home: Assessing possession ‘clutter’ on subjective well-being. Journal of Environmental Psychology; 46: 32-41.
McMains, S. & Kastner, S. (2011) Interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in human visual cortex. J Neurosci; 31(2): 587-597.