Where Do You Work Best?
In honor of Clear Your Desk Day 2021, I encourage you to take a few minutes to clear your work space! Purge those papers that you haven't been touched in so long that they have dust on them. If your gut reaction to that last sentence is panic then perhaps doing a sort will help you feel more comfortable with your decision to purge papers you no longer need. Here's some tips for how to go about sorting, purging and filing papers in your office. If 2020 really put a twist on what kind of work surface you work from these days then let's explore whether it's a work space that you thrive in.
Having a clear desk helps minimize the unconscious clutter in your mind while you work and results in better focus BUT what if you don't have a choice because your current workspace is less than ideal? Maybe you are still set up at the dining room table or you have a TV tray in your bedroom to support your computer just so you can escape the kids downstairs? If that sounds familiar then today might be the day you reevaluate your set up. It's looking like it'll be a while longer before this pandemic is in our rear-view mirror, so there's no time like the present to embrace your work space and customize it to suit your needs.
Where do you work best?
1) Do you need more quiet? Invest in a portable sound cancelling device and establish sound boundaries in your home. Tell everyone where the quiet zone begins and ends and use tape to mark it out if that would help.
2) Do you need natural light? Move your desk to the window. Natural light is so important to productivity so catch whatever you can, even if it means walking over to the window a few times per day. If you are feeling low energy, limited motivation or even a bit depressed, then this is something you should consider prioritizing over other work related needs.
3) Do you need more structure? Stop working from the couch or your bed, instead designate a surface where you can leave your work related items permanently. Sitting upright helps stimulate your brain to engage. Hard surfaces better accommodate multiple screens which cuts back on the toggling between tabs and windows on your computer. They also allow you to spread out your paperwork so you can process information more readily.
4) Do you need fewer interruptions? Move to the basement if you have to and block out visual distractions with room dividing screens or hanging a sheet. If you like where you are but need to implement more boundaries, consider putting a dry erase or chalk board on your door where people can express their thoughts to you without having to barge in. Schedule "office hours" throughout your day where you are willing to accept visitors and be sure to save your mindless tasks for that hour so you can be more flexible. Definitely don't schedule work calls during that time slot.
5) Do you need to be more portable? Maximize your digital options to cut back on the notepads, books, reference materials around your desk. If you start making a concentrated effort to cut out paper, be sure to find a digital option that will accommodate your needs for note taking and storing reference materials. Pinterest or Evernote are great places to pin or clip the reference materials from the web that you want to refer back to. Other digital documents can be stored in Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox. Notability is nice for taking hand written notes on your iPad. But if you don't mind typing out your notes, keep them in Google Docs, Microsoft One Note, Evernote or even Notes provided on your Apple devices.
For a more customized assessment of your workspace for productivity contact Clarity Co., LLC for a Productivity Assessment. Group training on this topic may feel like a better fit, contact us to learn more about a training we offer called, Home Office Productivity: Designing Spaces That Balance Work & Life.
Carrie Downey of Clarity Co., LLC is a Productivity & Organization Systems Consultant in Lexington, KY who is ready to help you create Clarity in your office, digital world or life. Visit clarityco.org or call 859-535-0718 to get started with a free phone consultation.