If your work, lifestyle or hobbies entail being at a desk for long periods, it’s worth giving that space some attention to maximize its functionality so that you feel your best in the area.
Seven Steps to work space happiness:
In initially organizing the space, one of the piles that you collected will most likely be made up of paperwork. So lets look at that now. The aim being to keep as few papers on the desk as possible.
Looking at the paperwork pile, create three sub piles divided into three types of documents:
Once the original pile has been sorted into these three categories, turn your focus to the first group. What we’re looking to implement is a system that doesn’t allow for stacking ’till later’. A wire vertical file organiser is what I recommend as the tiered design lets you easily identify folders. Divide the papers into categories that makes sense to you and use terms that you regularly use – using different coloured folders will further cement the system.
Looking at a couple of different desk set ups, we’re going to work through some tips and processes that can make your situation greatly improved.
In an office
Divide your workstation into zones, using various sections of the desk to reflect and contain your various activities. This may mean that you have a zone where you take phone calls (note paper, pen and contact details), another for filing (in trays, files and folders), and a zone for research/reading.
If your office environment utilizes the ‘hot desking’ system where every day requires setting up at a different desk, creating personal routines become of paramount importance. First, allow at least 20 minutes to find and get settled at your new post. Make a basket or box (one that you like) your hold-all and resist dumping everything in it at the end of the day. By having an end of day routine to keep the things in your box orderly – the next day is made easier and your brain gets into the habit of relaxing for the evening to come. Such a box will also help streamline the start of the next day for when you go to your locker, as it’ll be simply a matter of retrieving one item and getting on with finding your work space. Before starting work, take a moment to wipe down the desk and equipment to assist in maintaining your health and also adjust the height of the chair and monitor so your body is comfortable.
If you’re running a small business from home and don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated room for it, being able to section off your work is the second best solution. This could be through the use of screens for example. By having a certain area set up for your business with everything you need to conduct your work, it helps trigger work ready habits and to help keep work separate from the rest of your life.
If space is really quite tight, using a box or basket that you can unpack and pack up your work items (laptop, papers, other equipment) in helps create a routine and triggers the mental preparation for work to come (see Hot Desking above).
The home ‘office’, if you will, is often fulfilling several functions – sometimes as a hobby room, often times as a home admin center or a place for quiet study. Decide what purpose/s your desk at home is serving and ensure that it isn’t taken over by unassociated clutter. It can be tempting to use a study room and its desk surface as storage, but by working at maintaining the prime purpose of the space it helps to establish zoning for the rest of your house.
Study, hobby, office or small business – the desk is the heart of it all. Get this “tool” on side and watch as other parts are enable run more smoothly!