If you were to walk past my office on any given day when I was not sitting at my desk you’d probably assume I wasn’t even working that day! That’s due to the fact that I keep my office clear of clutter because that’s what I personally need in order to create a productive workspace for myself. Below are my top tips that I personally follow to maintain a systemised, functional and most importantly a productive workspace.
Cull the paper
It may sound obvious, but I’m not talking about just clearing everything off the desk and stuffing it in a drawer. I’m talking a cull and declutter of items you don’t need and are taking up valuable real estate on or in your desk.
All those presentations you’ve got stacked in a folder? I bet they’ve also been emailed to you, right? Chuck ‘em. That goes for any documents that you are keeping “just in case you need it as a reference one day” that you have saved as a soft-copy. When I return to my desk from a meeting, I decide right then and there if I need that agenda that was emailed to me, that I then printed out in preparation for the meeting. Usually the answer is: chuck it. If you have important notes scribbled on hard copies, then I suggest scanning this copy of the document back onto your computer.
Systemise your space
Ok, you’ve culled your paperwork. What’s left should be the important stuff. You may already have a filing system, but now that you’ve culled some of the unnecessary paperwork we want to avoid this piling up again (literally). So, consider whether your filing system could be updated or tweaked. In-Trays work for some people, with categories like Immediate Action, To Pay, To Be Filed, For Review. For Review is the most dangerous category as I find this is where people tend to ‘dump’ the items that don’t fit into their other categories. If it goes here, is it really that important? Consider getting rid of this category.
Ergo your environment
Have you ever looked at how ergonomic your space is? You probably think I’m going to suggest you need a standing desk: wrong! Although they are fantastic and I do have one! I’m talking about the basics. Is your office phone on the correct side of the desk? What? There’s a right side and a wrong side? Well no not exactly, but my preference is to keep my phone on my dominant side which for me is on my right. That way I’m not reaching across my body to answer the phone. I also like to keep a clear space on my dominant (right) side as this is the space I naturally gravitate towards when writing notes. Anything I don’t use often like files is kept to my non-dominant (left) side. So, consider rearranging your desk to have frequently used items and writing space on your dominant side and less used items on your non-dominant side.
Obviously, there’s the other standard elements to consider including the height of your computer monitor (this should be at eye level or slightly below) and your desk and chair adjustments. Make sure you have all your furniture set to the right comfort levels for you.
Stop the squint
I find that this one gets missed by a lot of people …..your screen brightness! I bet if you were to check your screen brightness right now that it’s probably on the brightest setting (I call this the ‘Squint Setting’!) am I right? Squinting at your computer is something that people do without even realising it! I encourage you to keep an eye on (no pun intended!) your screen brightness and adjust it regularly. I have installed a free program onto my own computer which adjusts my screen brightness for daytime and night time. You can check it out at https://justgetflux.com/.
If you have some tips on how to create and maintain a productive workspace then please leave a comment below! I would love to hear from you!
Lauren is a Productivity Coach empowering women to break through their productivity barriers and take control of their business.