How does your office space define you and your productivity?
I just remodeled my home office three weeks ago and I feel like a whole new person as well as a much more organized professional.
If you’re lucky enough to have your own office space — whether it’s located at home or not — well, you’re lucky enough! You should take advantage of this opportunity and get the best out of it.
If my effects are in order, so is my brain. I swear by that maxim. I can’t think straight when I have too much stuff lying around. Don’t get me wrong; just because I’m writing about keeping your office space tidy, doesn’t mean that I’m the neatest person around. Actually, I am always saying (to myself and to everyone that happens to see my crazy messes) that my house and my personal spaces represent a “work in progress “.
Little by little, room-by-room, for the last 6 years, I have designed and laid out my ideas in ways that have really worked well for my lifestyle and me.
And I always use the same principle…
Minimize to Maximize
When it comes to productivity, I always try to minimize waste and maximize value. This is something that Industrial engineers call ‘lean manufacturing’. Lean what? Did I lose you there? No, it is not a diet… It’s a simple principle, and you probably already put it into practice in many aspects of your daily life.
Look at it this way:
You want to get the most out of the hours you spend in your office. You want to get things done right once and for all with minimum waste of time, materials, and other things, for that matter.
You want to be productive. Period.
Whether you manufacture a physical product or not, your work – any work – involves tasks and processes and that is where your office’s design plays its role.
Notice I used the words tasks and processes (fancy!). They’re related, but they aren’t synonyms. A process involves tasks. In other words, if you make sandwiches, the tasks you use to make them represent a process. Spreading the condiments and the like are the tasks within that process. Making 10 sandwiches means that you’re performing a single process, repeating each task 10 times.
Get a Handle on Your Daily Work Processes
With that said, grab a piece of paper and write down all the processes involved in your daily work routine, together with its tasks, and ask yourself some questions like these:
- Am I doing all the tasks required for my process (or processes) in the correct order?
- Do I have all the tools, materials, and equipment I need in order to complete my tasks correctly?
- Am I performing other actions that cause me to waste time, material, and – perhaps – even money?
- What can I do better in order to minimize that waste?
- Are my office layout, furniture and equipment working for me or against me?
- How am I managing my time, calendars, and schedule?
- Do my gadgets help me achieve my goals faster, or do they slow me down?
Once you answer those questions (and some others that surely will come to mind during the process), you’ll find both the strengths and weaknesses inherent in your office space.
Address the weaknesses and everything else will just start falling into place.
Like putting together the pieces of a big puzzle, it might prove challenging in the beginning, but once you’ve sorted and sifted through the biggest challenges, the rest will be a breeze. Like everything in life, once you start seeing positive results, nothing can stop you!
Soon, you’ll see how that pair of scissors should’ve been in the bottom drawer the whole time, while the white copy paper should’ve been to the right of your desk, right under the printer and not in the filing cabinet in the back left corner. Voila! Productivity increased.
Really, it’s that simple.
And, it makes a lot of a difference in your everyday life too. You’ll look at your schedule and find empty time slots for enjoyment and relaxation, or perhaps to fit in more processes that will enrich your life or put money in your pocket. You’ll take a deep breath and say what I said three weeks ago: I am so glad I did this.
I want to encourage you to tackle that office organization project you’ve been putting off (for too long now) because you didn’t know where to start…
Let this be your starting point.
So go ahead, make that list, answer those questions, and get to work!
I would love to read your comments and suggestions. Have some questions? Have some issues? Are you baffled and don’t know where to start? Been there, done that!
~ And I love a challenge…