W/LB Tip #15: De-Cluttering Your Office

A calmer workspace creates more productivity.


Hi all!  I received such a positive response to last week's work/life balance tip, on creating family traditions, that I want to open this week's email with a request for you all to write to me to share some of the traditions and celebrations within your families, and I'll post a summary next week.     Or, post to the list directly.  A lot of people are interested!


In the meantime, I'm happy to bring you more advice from Amanda Wiss, organizing expert and founder of Urban Clarity, who wrote last month's tip on organizing your inbox.   Today, she has advice on DE-CLUTTERING YOUR OFFICE, which is particularly apt for me given the email my husband sent me this very afternoon (subject line:  the office is out of control), reading:  "the juicer on top of the books is a sign you need to spend a few minutes and put some stuff away."     (For the record, it was a Beaba baby food maker, not a juicer; and the books were merely a resting place on its journey to storage.  I am prepared to concede, however, that his point remains.)


WIthout further ado, then, here is Amanda's advice for De-cluttering Your Office:

If you’re reading this in your office, take a look around.  Does the area support you in producing good work, or is it more like a messy space with a desk?  If it’s the latter, these 3 steps will create an organized space that allows you to focus.


Here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Edit ruthlessly. Grab a large garbage bag, a recycling bag and a box for donation.  Your goal is to discard that which is dispensable – as quickly as possible. Things to ditch:  old paperwork (shred if necessary), outdated equipment, knickknacks that don’t inspire you, stacks of magazines you’ll never get to, product manuals that are online anyway (do you still have the gadget they go to?), broken furniture (or objects that you haven’t yet fixed) and anything that’s not consistent with the professional that you are.
  1. Archive the Inactive! If you need to keep tax documents or client files, or you’d like to keep sentimental stuff (like letters, cards, notebooks, journals, press clippings) put them in an inexpensive bankers box, label it and move them out of your active work space.
  1. Re-arrange what’s left. The goal is to organize your remaining items based on frequency of use.  If you use something daily it should be reachable from your chair – you want your prime real estate to hold items that contribute most to your productivity. Often used items should be convenient, but they don’t need to take center stage.  Excess supplies and other things that don’t get a lot of play can be stored out of the way (like on a high shelf.)


Bonus step: To really enhance your refreshed space, add some personal touches. Think about what objects, pictures and words lift your soul, and incorporate a few into your space.  They’ll make you smile, and that will improve your motivation and overall work experience.  Can’t you just see your productivity soar?

Thanks Amanda!  For more about Amanda and Urban Clarity, check out her website at www.urbanclarity.net.


All best,
PSP Work/Life Initiative