There’s just something about the words “calm” and “productive” that make you feel good. I love the feelings that are attached to these words. I can’t think of a better combination for my workspace. I can envision it now, windows open, breeze flowing in, sunlight warming my desktop, plants swaying by the window sill and all my favorite colors, materials, and textures all around me. And of course a place for everything and everything in its place, allowing me to fully focus on my passion and not on the mess around me. For me the more nature brought into the workspace the better. The more organized the space the better. Take a second, close your eyes and envision your current work space. What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Does it lead to productivity? Does it make you feel calm? Does it get your creative juices flowing? If not this blog post is for you! Below I will explain how to transform your workspace into a calm and productive work environment.
#1 Eliminate Stress Causing Clutter
Clutter does so much more damage than we even realize. It’s not just the look of clutter that affects us, it’s also the subconscious damage clutter is doing to us. While working, clutter can be extremely distracting and will continue to add unneeded stress to your work day unless you get it under control.
Imagine your working. There are papers all over your desk except a small area for your laptop. There’s a “junk drawer” to your right thats filled with miscellaneous items from pen, pencils, staplers to candle wax and snacks. The drawer is so deep that you literally have to dig to find what you need. Your bookshelf is not just for books it’s also the place for used coffee mugs, random notes and papers, as well as miscellaneous items that you’ve been gifted over the years. The trash is overflowing and your filing cabinet is not even being put to use. You hate entering into your workspace everyday and you honestly just want to walk right back out. You sit down at your desk you look around and start to get overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, and a lack of focus and motivation. Did you ever think that maybe you don’t hate your job, but just your work environment?
Imagine not being able to find your pens, markers, post-its, or thumbtacks when you need them and therefore being forced to purchase them again. Its turns into a never ending cycle that leaves you will less time, less money and more stress. But this does not have to be your never ending cycle! Break free and let go of clutter, give items in your workspace a home, and get in the habit of putting them back. You will be amazed how much this simple change can completely change how you feel about your job.
#2 Create Zones
I have found that creating zones in just about every space in your home is a game changer and your office is no different! By creating zones you will become calm and more efficient in your work environment.
I recommend you start by taking an inventory of all the types of items you need in your work space. Next, try to create 5-8 zones for each of those types of items. For example, in my workspace my zones are:
- Refreshment area
- Printer and print paper station
- Planning area (including Calendar and schedule)
- Supplies storage area
- Important documents storage area
- Focus area ( where you will do the majority of your work)
By customizing your workspace in a way that makes the most sense to you, your work day will begin to flow so naturally! It will make it so much easier to get what you need when you need it and your productivity will increase everyday. Also by creating zones you are making it easier to complete your daily tasks because when you are working at a particular zone you will have everything you need in arms reach.
#3 Create a Vision Board
As you begin to get your space more organized and transform it into a place you love to be, you do not want to forget about the organization of our goals and visions that we have for our business or career.
Vision boards are a perfect way to capture both your goals and your vision. So what are Vision Boards? Vision Boards are a collage of images and words representing your wishes or goals, intended to serve as inspiration or motivation. They help you to organize your ideas and decide which are the most important to you. Not to mention they are easy, yet beautiful decor for your new office space that reflects all those things you love. They might seem unnecessary to some, but I assure you they really help to give you the direction and motivation you need to get you where you want to be.
#4 Set Aside Time For Planning
It’s so important to set aside time to plan out/organize your day, week, month, and even year. If you plan out when we are going to complete each task it’s more likely that it will actually get completed. It will also lessen your stress levels because you will no longer be worried about when mile long to-do list is going to get done. This will then allow you to truly focus on the task at hand.
I recommend having your plan somewhere very visible and in your focused zone, that way while you are working you know exactly what it is that you need to accomplish that day, week, etc. Do you have so much that needs to get done and not even sure where to start? Check out tip #9 on batch work, you will love this method!
#5 Create A Refreshment Station
Everyone loves food and it is the best motivator (especially for my high school students!) So why not have a Keurig and snacks in you office space, that way when you feel like you can’t keep going you can easily get a cup of coffee and a granola bar, giving you just enough fuel to get you through the rest of the day.
Just grab a small fridge and stock it full of your favorite healthy drinks and snacks. Get a coffee pot or keurig with an assortment of k-cups ( you never know what your going to be in the mood for!) and your all set! You’ll have exactly what you need to get you through your workday and even better it’ll be only a few steps away.
#6 Organize Your Office By Importance
Just like in the kitchen, pantry and well every other space in your home we want to make items we use everyday easy to get to! And your office space is no different. Look around your office space. Look for storage areas that are up high and down low as well as ones that are super easy to get to where items can be stored. Then think about the items you use everyday and the items that you don’t. As we begin to give items a home and put those items away really think about the placement of those items, being sure to put the ones we don’t use very often up high or down low and those that we do use often in places that are super easy to get to.
For example, place your everyday supplies ( pens, pencils, staplers, tape, white out and so on in the top drawer of your desk, that way they are easy to get to. File papers you rarely use in the bottom drawer of your desk and store papers that need immediate attention in a magazine organizer on your desktop or in a wall hanging file organizer nearby. Lastly, store those large information textbooks that you don’t need very often on the highest shelves or your bookshelves.
#7 Color Code Your Files
Color coding your files will make it so much easier for you to file those papers as well as locate them when you need them, not to mention it just looks so darn pretty! Start by determining what kind of papers you will be storing. Next, try to create 5-8 categories and assign each category a color. Label each individual file folder and sort away! You will be surprised how much easier filing becomes for you! Want to take it a step further? When choosing colors for each category, try to choose calming colors like dark gray-blue, soft gray, soft neutral green, and lavender that way when you open your file cabinet drawer instead of finding your files it will feel like you just found a puppy! : )
#8 Use Your Space Effectively
Whether you have a large or small office space using your space effectively can be a game changer! To ensure you are using your space effectively first choose your office space and make a list of the tasks you will need to complete in that space. Next, determine where certain tasks will be completed in the space and where items to complete this task will be stored ( Don’t forget about creating those zones!). Lastly, think creatively when it comes to designing your space and check out the tips below to help you get started!
- Use wall space as much as you can. Put some shelfs up, a wall hanging file organizer, a rod to hang storage containers from, hooks, peg board, your calendar, bulletin board, etc. Using wall space will not only give you a perfect place to store items, but it will also help you to keep that desktop clear.
- Don’t be afraid of small awkward spaces. These spaces can be challenging, but they can also make for great storage areas. For example, maybe in the small corner of your office, stack crates 4 or 5 high and storage books, magazines, bins, etc. Just be sure to measure the space to ensure that you are able to purchase something that will fit perfectly and that you are utilizing the space you have entirely.
- Carts and caddies! I love storage carts and caddies for all your essentials. You can easily move your cart around with you and push it against the wall, out of your way when you don’t need it. Caddies are great too. Place all your pens, pencils, markers, post its, paper clips, thumbtacks and so on in your caddy, get it out when you need and put in away on a shelf or in a cabinet when you don’t need it.
- Don’t forget about the door! The back of your doors can be a great way to extend your storage options. Whether it hooks or an over the door organizer this storage solution could be just what you need to store those last items.
#9 Batch Work
This method is rising in popularity as we speak. For the longest time I thought that multitasking was the fastest, most efficient way to get things done. However, after listening to Jenna Kutcher’s Gold Digger Podcast, I quickly realized that batch work was the most efficiently way to work. Not only does multitasking lower your IQ, but it also keeps you from completing a task to the best of your ability. See when we multitask we are giving attention to multiple tasks, meaning we aren’t giving each task 100% of our efforts. If we can complete each task one at a time, the likelihood of us completing them well will increase significantly. Want more information about batch work and how to make it a reality? I highly recommend listening to Jenna Kutcher’s episode on Batch Work.
#10 Don’t Forget Digital Clutter
We often completely forget about digital clutter because we can’t exactly see it piling up all around us. But believe it or not this type of clutter can cause us just as much stress and anxiety. Whether you are wanting to get your computer files, google drive documents, or any other digital storage system organized, I highly recommend determining the kinds of documents and/or pictures you are storing and then choosing 5-8 categories (starting to see a pattern!) to store them in. Then start placing them in the appropriate folder. Want to take it a step further? Create folder in folders to make finding documents and pictures even easier!
As always, thank you so much for reading and following along with me on this organizing journey and I hope this post was helpful to you! You all are my why and I love providing you the information you need to help you live a more organized and happy life! Now go get that office space in order and start dreaming about what’s next for you!
In- Home Professional Organizer
Wide Open Spaces Organization