Tips for Creating an Organized and Functional Workspace
Whether we like it or not, we spend the better part of our lives working. 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, over the course of 45 years (if we’re lucky enough to retire at 65). All told, that means we spend 90,000 hours in our workplaces. For many of us, it will be even more than that, and even if you’ve found the perfect job, all that time can wear you down. With so much of our lives spent at our desks and other workspaces, one would think it goes without saying that we would do everything possible to ensure those spaces are as organized and functional as possible. But the sad reality is that many never take the time to customize the spaces they work in, and the effect this has on productivity and general satisfaction while working cannot be underestimated.
While we understand that some workplaces simply don’t allow for customization and personal touches, thank goodness that many do. If that’s true of your own workplace, read on for our best tips to creating an organized and functional workspace.
Make the space fit your aesthetics. Each of us has our own sense of style, sense of taste, and sense of what we find beautiful. When we surround ourselves with these things, we inevitably experience a lift in mood. Whether it’s a vase of freshly cut flowers from your garden, pictures from your last camping trip with your kids, or a poster of your favorite baseball player, decorate your workspace with things you find inspirational. (Of course, this must fall within the rules of office decorum.) As we said, you’ll experience a lift in your mood, and an improved mood generally means a boost of energy. And energy, well, we need that to get our work done, don’t we? So, get some modern and unique products for your desk that will make you look forward to working. Even getting a cool piece of art for your office could entice you to spend more time there. Make the space suit your workflow. A streamlined workflow allows you to enter into your most efficient state of mind and complete tasks as if without thought. Hours seem to pass in minutes, and you almost feel as though your body worked on its own while your mind drifted off into some hazy dream-state. Psychologists call this experience “flow,” and we’ve all had it at one time or another. To experience this state more often and be your most productive self, you need to create conditions in your workspace that will facilitate entering flow. This means tending to basic ergonomic issues like buying the right chair to support your back and adjusting it to the proper height, purchasing a keyboard and mouse that won’t leave your wrists aching, installing proper lighting to spare your eyes, and so on. All of this will prevent physical discomfort from distracting you. Having tended to ergonomic matters, you will also need to situate whatever materials you need—whether staples and paperclips or paints and brushes, etc.—as to allow ease of use. You want to be able to develop a consistent and repeatable pattern of work, one in which everything you need is always ready at hand. And, again, you want to be able to engage in these patterns without poor ergonomics causing physical discomfort. Tidy up your workspace every day. We understand no one likes to clean, and we also understand that cleaning can be the last thing you want to do when you have a lot of work on your plate. However, the psychological reality is that our environment exerts a quiet yet profound influence over our internal state. That’s why we’ve already suggested you make your workspace aesthetically pleasing. A cluttered work environment can easily lead to a cluttered mind. So, each day before you dig in to your tasks, tidy everything up. Get a small trashcan for your desk clutter. Put everything in its proper place and eliminate any stray debris that might affect you.
We spend literally decades of our lives in our workspaces. You owe it to yourself to make those decades the best they can be. So, take the time to organize your workspace for aesthetics, ergonomics and productivity. You’ll be glad you