Tips and tricks for simplifying your life, moving onto your work space!
This year, one of the goals I’ve made for myself is simplifying my life. I’ve started avoiding clutter, cutting down on useless stuff, using up things that I’ve accumulated, reducing things I do not need, and been keeping things organized. There are so many areas of life that can be simplified. This applies even to people who are naturally a simple or organized person doesn’t matter. I’ve always thought I was both, but there is always room for improvement. It is best to tackle these things one at a time. In my first post on this topic I offered tips for simplifying your wardrobe, be sure to check that out too.
It can be hard to know the best way to organize your work space. Whether this is your desk at home or your cubicle/office space at work, you want your work space to provide you with a place where you can focus and be efficient, but also be inspired. Simplicity here is important.
It brings me to 6 tips I’ve started using to keep my work space simplified.
1. Do De-clutter
When it comes to your work space, clutter is your worst enemy. Clutter doesn’t necessarily mean a total mess; it could be just Knick knacks that get in the way or a pile of stuff that you need to get to. It could be a pile of papers with follow-up actions that you keep putting off, maybe bills you have to pay or invoices to process. No one likes tackling these things, but if you set aside time at a regular interval to sort and tackle the clutter, you can avoid the mass overload that could lead to bigger problems like losing things or missing a deadline. Set aside 15 minutes once a week at work or 30 minutes once a month at home to completely eliminate clutter. This will help make your space available for the things that matter, like actually working! It will also keep the space looking clean and organized which is far more inviting when it comes to focusing on a task at hand. You’ll also want to avoid having too much stuff in general at your desk. Use drawers, organizers, folder holders and shelves to keep things from just lying around on your desk. That way you avoid clutter and everything has a designated spot, keeping it simple!
2. Perfect Proximity
When it comes to working efficiently, let’s think about it like we are on a production line. It’s all about having the tools you need readily at-hand so you can minimize effort, distance and time in preforming a task. This means better output and higher productivity. You can do this to any workspace. It’s simple if you break it down as follows: keep the stuff you use on an everyday ready to use and really close by where you sit and perform, keep the stuff you use regularily within reach and keep stuff you use rarely tucked away and out of sight. Think regular use = primixity.
3. Ergonomics is Essential
Ergonomics has become a big thing in the world of work, more recently in the office environment. There is no reason for any work space to not been ergonomic. You don’t have to be a professional to assess this either. Here are a few things to consider. What I discussed aboveapplies here; properly applied proximity means less awkward reaching or arm movement while working, which means you are less likely to develop chronic pain or problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Next is your seat. If you are not comfortable in your chair, you will not be able to focus and at the end of the day your back or neck will ache. You don’t need a fancy chair, but when purchasing consider these tips for choosing the right chair. And also consider the basic steps to make your space ergonomically correct specific to you. Next consider your computer screen and keyboard, making sure it is at the right distance so you are not craning your neck, that it is at eye-level when your head is straight and that your keyboard does not hurt your wrist. Believe it or not, but ergonomics will help simplify your work space since it is catered to you and your comfort.
4. Sort and Store your Files
When I talked about sorting clutter in #1, I mentioned sorting, but let’s talk specifically about files, folders or whatever you choose to call them. While storing files away keeps your space visually clean, sorting them is what will make your life simpler. Have you ever looked for something among all your “supposedly” organized files that you absolutely needed in that moment and just couldn’t find it? How frustrating was that and how much effort did it take? What if your files were sorted in a way that made sense, was easy to follow through on and saved you all that fuss? This is possible and there are many ways to do it. My advice is to pick one that is suited to your natural way of organizing, even if you’re not a natural organizer you have a style of some sort. Next, don’t be afraid to break things down into smaller parts. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to file with a purpose. And lastly, make sure to throw out files that are old and no longer relevant. Filing things away does not = keep it forever. Sort your files between keep and recycle/shred at least once a year. Don’t forget, you can also scan and save files onto your computer/hard drive if the papers get overwhelming and just don’t keep you organized. Here are some great tips from the Martha Stewart Website that even has a document retention guideline. Apartment Therapy also has lots of great resources for organizing your files on top of other great tips for simplifying your space.
5. Lots of Lighting
When I think simple, I think clean and bright. A work space can feel airy, inviting and simplified with the right lighting. The lighting you choose also affects your eye sight and can prevent headaches that can come with low lighting. Lighting also has an impact on your mood. Read more on how lighting in a given room can affect your emotional state. Be sure to pick lighting that is appropriate for your space and the activity you do there. Here are some considerations: reading fine print might require a desk lamp, natural light is always better than artificial and working in the dark is not good for you. Consider the level of brightness and the colour temprature of lightbulbs and adjust where you are able. You’ll notice a huge difference.
6. Personal Touches
Finally, when you have tackled all the steps from 1 through 5, consider adding some personal flare. Though simplified often means minimal, an organized and simplified workspace should still show your personality and speak to you. Add simple touches like one or two photos maximum, get a nice calendar that includes pictures of things you like, choose a fun desktop background on your computer, choose customized office supplies like pens and notebooks that are your favourite colour, add a small plant to bring nature into your work space and consider adding a coaster and cute mug for your coffee. Small versus big touches are they key, and none of these thigns break any of the above rules/recommendations!
There is nothing better than a work space that has what you need and is clean and inviting for your working needs. Stuff and disorganization can feel overwhelming and suffocating, but by keeping things simple you are doing you some serious good.
Now when you walk from your wardrobe to your work space life has been simplified. I’ll be covering a few other areas of your life you can simplify in 2016 very soon!