I am sure you have heard it before, ‘a messy office reflects a messy mind’. In other words, if your external environment is disorganized and in a mess, your internal thinking and organization is most likely as well. You might be surprised just how much influence your office space has on you; being in a disorganized environment definitely makes you feel more overwhelmed and stressed and less productive.
I remember when I first changed my office space and revamped it to create my ideal space and there was an immediate difference on many levels. I felt renewed and re-energized, which made me feel even more motivated. Looking around I felt calmness and clarity that I never felt before.
The one size fits all concept can be applied to many things, but not your office space. You need to create a space that will work for you. I assume you haven’t put five minutes aside to imagine your ‘ideal’ office space before; in fact, most people look at me as if I were a bit strange when I mention this, but I am curious to know, why not?
We do this exercise when we think about our homes and what we want them to look like, but not our office space, and ironically, most of us spend more time working than at home. Does it make more sense now?
After a long day at work, there is nothing better than coming home to your ideal abode. You most likely feel more relaxed and happier, and why? Because you created the space you wanted. When you walk into the office in the morning, it should bring about similar good feelings in you.
Take half a day or a few hours, whatever you need and plan to use this time purely to create the space you really want to work in every day, you will be so glad that you did.
Start by gaining awareness of your space. Looking around at your office; what are some of the things that you can see that you don’t really need to have? Do you make use of trays and files or is your desk scattered with personal items, old and broken stationary?
1. Start by immediately throwing out everything that you don’t actually need.
This may be hard if you are a hoarder but less is more. It is good to clean out and ‘let go’ from time to time and create more space for the ‘new’.
2. Then make a list of what you don’t have that you need.
What would make your working environment so much better? Think about the times you have said to yourself ‘If only I had…’ If there are some essential tools or equipment that would help you manage your time better, you most likely need it.
3. Then make a list of what you don’t have, but you want.
Get creative and make your office space creative. Would you love to have more plants or use a Swiss ball instead of a chair in your office? Remember, you don’t need to go wild and purchase everything at once.
- How often? – Anything you don’t need on a daily or regular basis should be stored away.
- One system – Don’t try to use different books, calendars and scheduling systems, etc. Use one central system to manage everything. For example, using Microsoft Outlook which is synced with evernote and remember the milk, for example.
- Your habits – Develop a habit of keeping your desk tidy. Put your stationary in a holder, put loose papers together, etc.
- Workflow – Set up trays on your desk, In, out and pending. Plan how you will manage the inflow of documents and papers in an orderly and productive manner.
- Keep the focus – Remove personal items from your desk, a photo is ok, but if it looks like a part of your house in the office, this can be very distracting, keep the focus!
- Layout – If you have to constantly get up to walk to the other side of the room for the printer, which could easily be moved closer to you, why haven’t you done it yet? Make your office easier to maneuver around, you might even need a whole new layout.
Lastly, ask yourself, does everything flow better to make my job easier?
From 0-10, how different would you feel walking into your office now? If it is low, ask yourself what you need to do to increase that number.
An organized and optimized office is really easy to maintain once it is set up. If you feel that optimizing your office space will make a huge difference for you, don’t put it off, your intuition is always right. If you want to increase your productivity and develop time management skills to obtain better results, take a look at how your environment is influencing your ability to reach your goals.
To your success!