When you’re able to focus, you can complete your tasks and reduce your stress level. Well, it’s not hard to get focused when you’re working in a soothing and calm office space. Here are a few ways to get started and make your working area more productive.
1- Clear Your Papers
Remove all of the papers from on and around your desk. Place them in your inbox. If you have a large amount of paper clutter you may need to put them in a pile. Go through that pile, one document at a time. Deal with each document immediately, do not put them back in the pile. When you’re done with one document move onto the next. With each document, you must decide whether you will trash it, delegate it, file it, do something with it immediately or put an action on your to-do list and place the document in your “action” folder. It may take several sessions, but eventually, you will eliminate the pile of papers.
2- Clear Clutter
Now that your desk is clear of paper, you can start to remove the other items on your desk. This includes knick knacks, old post-it note reminders, phone messages (which should be in your inbox waiting to be processed), folders and many of your framed photos. Find new places to put these items or remove them from your office.
3- Clear Your Gear
You don’t need to store your office gear on your desk or keep them in sight. Find drawers or cabinets to store your stapler, pens, paper clips, digital camera and other office gear. Before storing your gear, make sure to clear out the cabinets and drawers so that only the essential office items remain. Keep these spaces organized so you reduce the chance of losing or damaging your gear.
4- Clear The Walls
Remove artwork and papers from your walls. Reduce the number of pieces you display to keep your walls from being too busy. One or two pieces of simple art on each wall can help to create a calmer environment. Alternatively, these fountains at SoothingWalls.com can have the same effect.
5- Create an Inbox System
You need to have one inbox on your desk where all incoming notes, documents, phone messages and other paperwork are placed. This inbox needs to be processed regularly so that it is empty at least once a day. Use the same method that you used to clear your paper clutter. The only thing that should be on your desk is the one thing you’re working on.
6-Simplify Your Computer
Your computer desktop also needs to be clutter-free. Remove icons from your desktop. Icons are an inefficient way to organize yourself and launch programs and documents. It creates visual clutter. You also need to clear your menu bar, if possible. Add a serene background to your desktop and only have the item you’re working on open. While you’re working on a task, turn off your email and IM notifications. Reduce the number of times you check your email to 2 to 3 set times per day. You can reduce your stress level significantly by reducing these interruptions.
7- Create a Simple Filing System
Create a simple alphabetical filing system. Buy plain manila folders and plenty of labels. Keep empty folders on hand, in a drawer at your desk, so that you don’t need to leave your work area to create a file. This will allow you to quickly file documents instead of letting work pile up.
8- Edit, Edit, Edit
When the clutter is clear, there are still things that need to be removed from your office. Every time you enter your office, edit your surroundings. Look at each item in view and ask if you really need it. In most cases you’ll find you don’t. Remove that item from your sight, or discard it. As you go through this process, you’ll find that there is always going to be something you can put away or get rid of.
9- Buy Simple Furniture
Buy the simplest furniture available. Choose plain solid color floor coverings or have hard-surface undecorated flooring installed. Leave the windows bare except for blinds. Install simple shelf units and purchase simply designed lighting.
10- Choose Simple Decorations
Decorative items help to personalize a workspace, but can quickly lead to clutter. Avoid bric-a-brac. Choose one or two simple decorations, like flowers in a vase to create a calming, soothing office space.