Is your office really messy? Are you able to find everything you need in a short time? Do you know exactly where everything is? Do you have a good filing system?
Physical space is something that is often overlooked in our lives. Having an organised office can do wonders for you and the people you work with. Even if you are someone who can only work within the chaos of a messy desk, that messy desk needs to have a system so you can locate everything that you need, when you need it. One of the biggest reasons why people procrastinate or lose track of things is because OUT of SIGHT = OUT OF MIND. Therefore it is important to make sure you have a system to keep track of everything.
Productivity only happens when you are aware of what you need to do and when you need to do it. Having a conducive work space is very important and here are some quick tips to set up your work space so you can work more efficiently.
1) Install a white board/ pin board/ cork board/ sticky board
Make use of this board to put up to do lists, reminders, goals, anything that you need to keep track of. Review it at the beginning of each day. Make sure you remove anything that is done. Add any new items that need to go on it. If you prefer a virtual board, consider using something like Trello. Woolf Works has some great tips on how to use it. I generally use this more for the big picture/long term goals. My day to day to do list is still hosted on TODOist and I will do a blog post on how I use that next week.
2) Comfortable environment
Make sure that your office is a space of calm. It should be the right temperature so that you are not too warm or too cold to work. The lighting should be bright enough so that you are not squinting. Most people like some sunlight coming in, so having a window in the work space does help. Make sure that you also have water on hand every time before you start working so you are consistently hydrating yourself. Turn on some soft music if that helps you to concentrate. Lock the door and put your phone away so there are no distractions.
3) Furniture and tools
Get a good chair so that you can maintain good posture at the computer. We spend so much times at our desks and the key to remaining free of aches and pains is to have a comfortable chair. Also, make sure your keyboard to screen ratio is correct. Most people don’t know that there is actually an optimal height for keyboards and screens. Ideally we should be looking straight ahead when looking at the screen and our hands should be aligned to the natural position of our body when we are typing. One of the major reasons why people get back aches when sitting at their desks for too long is because they haven’t got the right keyboard to screen ratio in relation to their own bodies and are straining or slouching at their desks.
A good office is one where you can find everything you need anytime you need it. I know for most people this seems hard. Many people work from chaotic and messy desks, myself included. The way to change this is to start labeling and allocating space for everything. Even if you don’t print physical labels, everything that exists on or around your desk should be there for a reason. If there are loose bits of paper, put them into a box or tray for processing. Don’t just leave them on the table. They will get lost in the chaos and not get done. A quick and easy way to do this is to get boxes and sort everything into boxes. Label the boxes clearly so you can locate what you need when you need.
Try implementing these few tips and let me know if they work for you. Do also share any other tips you have for maintaining a productive physical work space.