Do you ever feel like your mind is so cluttered you can’t focus on any one thing? When it comes to working effectively, maintaining mental clarity is obviously a huge component.
But what about your external work space? Does it really matter whether your physical work space is cluttered or isn’t set up to maximize work output?
The answer is a resounding, emphatic yes.
There are a couple of reasons its so important to organize your office space in a way that works for you.
Firstly, it is because of just how important it is to retain mental clarity to work productively and efficiently. When our external environment doesn’t foster us with a sense of coherence, we tend to feel cluttered internally.
In other words, if you don’t make your office work for you, then its working against you.
Secondly, if you organize your office with the intention of creating a uniquely personal environment conducive to productivity, your office will quite literally create automatic triggers in you to work towards achievement of your work goals.
The principles listed here aren’t just about setting up your office space the right way. These ideas can be applied to any space in your life as a way of helping you accomplish different goals you have.
We have a unique relationship with every single item we own & every physical space we occupy in our lives. Every single article of clothing, item of jewelry, home appliance, phone app, each room in our home, etc.
The same applies to our work space.
What’s important is beginning to understand the different relationships to the different “stuff” in your office so that you can choose wisely in determining what’s worth keeping and what might be worth leaving at home or throwing away.
When you work, negativity and stress prevent you from working as effectively as you possibly can, right? That’s because when we’re in relationship to stress and negative emotion, there’s a lot of unnecessary tension that comes between us and the work we have to do in front of us.
The de-cluttering process is exactly analogous to freeing yourself from letting stress hinder you in light of your work.
Look around at your office space and ask yourself, “what is my relationship to each of the items on my desk and in my office?”
If your entire office is in your laptop like mine is, then ask yourself, what items do I have on my laptop that distract me due to my associations with them?
A really good example of what I mean is phone applications. Apps like snapchat and Instagram are extremely distracting. We don’t even realize how our fingers gravitate towards and press the icons the moment our eyes see them after we’ve unlocked our phones. Simple actions like hiding those applications in far away folders and turning off notifications for them end up in dramatic increases in productivity.
De-clutter your office by removing or hiding every item that you associate with in a way that has nothing to do with getting your shit done. Your work space is for work.
Bedrooms are for sleep and sex.
Gyms are for exercising.
Libraries are for reading and studying.
Cafeterias are for eating.
After you’ve rid your work space of everything that has nothing to do with working – i.e. any item that you associate with in a way that has no relevance to achievement of your work objectives – the next step is actively organizing the space in a way that will allow you to create brand new associations related only to work and productivity.
*The best way to intentionally organize your office is by categorizing the different types of work you do. *
For example, my different “zones” would be for reading, creating my to-do list, writing in my work journal, a separate zone for anything related to the internet (I create “space” for the different computer-related zones by having different folders on my laptop), and a phone call/meeting zone.
It’s not about having a completely separate physical space for each of these types of work. It’s about organizing the space with different items associated with each of the types of work as “alarm clocks” or triggers.
My space is comprised of whatever book I want to read for the day on the left, my journal next to it, my computer to the right of the journal, and my phone at the end with a small notepad for any notes I need to take. For me, organizing everything from left to right in order of the things I want to do works well.
I keep absolutely nothing else on my desk because anything else would be unnecessary.
If you do most of your work on a computer or laptop, make sure to turn off any notifications that aren’t related to work, and to organize the space in your computer in a similar way you would any other physical space. Make sure you label properly for any computer related work – its like a combination of de-cluttering and creating zones within the space of your computer.
You can’t expect to de-clutter your office and zone it appropriate for productivity once for the rest of time. It’s so easy to get messy and retreat to old work-space habits even after putting a lot of thought, time and effort into the best way to organize your office.
If you want to maintain maximum output on a daily basis, your space should be ready to go as soon as you walk into it. Every night when you leave the office or clean up your work space, create zones in a way that will ensure efficiency for the next day’s tasks. Especially if everyday looks different for you in terms of the work you’re doing, taking time to re-zone at night will be an enormous help.
This whole process is about SUBSTANCE over FORM. Just because your office “looks nice” and isn’t messy in the ordinary sense of the word doesn’t mean its set up for productivity. Organizing your office like a boss requires a commitment to set it up with intention based on the work you need to get done.
If you engage in a daily struggle to make your work space about nothing but work, you will be amazed at how much more you can get done in a day.
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