When you have a disorganized office and home, it can tell others around you that you are an ineffective worker. Not only that, but you probably feel ineffective when your office is a mess and it’s draining the energy you need to do your job well. Overall, a messy office can derail your career and your life.
It’s time to unclutter.
We recently moved into a new apartment and since we work from home and have a 2-year old, it’s more important than ever to stay organized and uncluttered. If you’ve been following along, you know that over the last 6 months, we have been living a location independent lifestyle, and through that process, I realized that we really don’t need much. My daughter and I don’t need a ton of clothes and we don’t need a ton of books sitting on a bookshelf. I also realized that I definitely don’t need papers piling up in my bedroom/office (pics coming soon!)
Here’s what I am learning about uncluttering that I wish I would have known years ago.
1. Create a Peaceful Workspace
You will be amazed how much more productive you will be if you enjoy where you work. So right now I want you to look around at your workspace. Are you surrounded by junk? Do you absolutely love your office? Does it inspire you? Would you invite your friends to a meeting in your office? Does it energize you?
If not, it’s time to make some improvements to your office. Think about what does inspire you and what do you love? How can you add some of that to your workspace? For me, this was as simple as getting some folders, frames, photos of my family and spending $25 at Target for some fun supplies.
We all enjoy living in a home that is decorated according to our tastes and is a warm and welcoming environment. It makes us feel good to be in a space that we like and enjoy spending time in. It stands to reason that the same goes for the workplace – the nicer our working environment is, the more we’ll enjoy being there and the more productive we will be. On the other hand, if an office space feels bland and makeshift, we’re less likely to feel inspired or creative in our work. These days, with everyone working longer hours, the ambiance of an office environment becomes even more important.
2. Comfort Matters
We’ve all sat on chairs that hurt, right? Especially, when you are sitting in the exact same chair for 8+ hours a day. Comfort matters. As much as I wanted those cute office chairs on Pinterest, I chose to stick with comfort instead.
Also, equipment that is poorly designed can be a cause of headaches and health issues – often affecting the lower back, neck and shoulders – as well as stress in the workplace. Besides causing pain and psychological distress, a work environment that is uncomfortable can also be less productive. If an office is visually appealing, with well-designed and stylish furniture, it can make a huge difference to the ambiance.
It’s also not just your chairs and desk you need to consider, the way your office reception and meeting rooms are furnished can affect how clients and suppliers think about your company. To improve first impressions of your company, for instance, you might choose to buy Italian furniture to add a sense of style to the waiting area or reception, with a striking color scheme for the walls offset with some accent pieces of sculpture and art.
It’s not just about having stylish furniture that’s ergonomically designed. even ‘Health, Wellbeing, and Productivity in Offices’ – a report from the World Green Building Council, suggested that an office layout can have an impact on concentration, creativity, collaboration and confidentiality.
3. Make Rules For What You Bring Into Your Home
One of my previous mentors, Ali Brown, stated that everything should be useful or beautiful in your office or home. You want to create a zen workplace. If your TV is blaring, the phone is ringing and a pile of bills is staring you in the face, you won’t be able to concentrate. Make your home a place where you love to be that is comfortable, beautiful and promotes your creativity. Buy yourself flowers. Clean up and make room for new things. What reminds you of an old boss or old job, etc? Get rid of the stacks of things and things you are tolerating and reminding you of negative things in your life. Your surroundings are so important!
Have a day to go through your home. Grab some garbage bags, get fun colored file folders, and redo your shelves and files. Get rid of everything you can and then add frames, or flowers or candles get in there. How can you make your environment more pleasant to work in? Do you need better music? A better smelling candle to inspire you? Is your back hurting on your chair? Do you need a new chair?
Women are so sensitive to your environments. You want it beautiful to inspire you. It’s so important for us. Clean out stuff and change up photographs, frames. Look around and say “I love my home!” That is what I want you to get to. Go to Target and make it pretty. Treat it seriously. Take care of what you have if you want more.
Also, inspire yourself with photos and encouraging pictures and quotes. I also have my goals taped to my desk, my vision board in my office and of course photos of my daughter Mila that makes me happy.
4. Stay Away From Burnout
You can have it all and you can achieve your dreams but never through becoming an old fashioned workaholic. To have it all, you cannot do it all. That’s why on this blog we talk a lot about investing in yourself, building your team, learning to delegate and allowing yourself to be in your zone of genius. You can work less and grow more, make more and have more impact, you just have to do it in a certain way.
We are taught as women to give so much and take care of everyone else. Many of us struggle to give ourselves permission to spend money on ourselves or take time for ourselves. It’s time to ask for more of what you want. We as women should feel confident demanding the best for themselves. The more we take care of ourselves, the more we can take care of our clients, family, friends, parents, etc.
Here’s a little exercise for you. List 3 desires you have for your work-life (assistant, beautiful office, more focus time, vacation, and location independent). List the costs for each of these desires. List 3 actions you can take today to get you closer to your desires. What are your non-negotiables that you need for you self-care? List what you need now and what you want to work towards.
5. Take Back Control Of Your Inbox
“E-mail is the largest single interruption in modern life. In a digital world, creating time, therefore hinges on minimizing e-mail.” –Timothy Ferris, author of The Four Hour Work Week
Here are the goals you should try to reach for your inbox. We aren’t perfect and this will take some time but this is something you want to be working towards. Having control of your inbox and setting email boundaries will improve your work-life. I am writing this post to you at 9:41am and I have still not checked my email today. That is why I am able to devote my creative juices to writing this blog post and many others because I don’t have my email draining me.
Delete: Set a timer and get as many emails out of your inbox as quickly as possible. Either sort or delete. The feeling of an inbox with only 5-10 emails before you leave for the night is HEAVEN! That way when you come in the next morning your inbox will be organized and you won’t be so stressed with the millions of things you think you have to do, but don’t really have to. Your inbox can seriously stress you out even though most of the emails are just informational and nothing that you actually have to do yourself.
Batch: Batching is when you complete similar tasks at one time. So although I monitor my inbox for urgent emails throughout the day, I only answer emails for about one hour each day. That way I am focused and I get it done a lot faster. I try to batch other items like writing and social media as well so I can get more done with my time.
Unsubscribe: Every second you waste scanning and deleting an email that you don’t want in your inbox in the first place is a complete waste of time. Go through your deleted files and start unsubscribing from newsletters and emails that you didn’t want and deleted. I spend 15 minutes every month unsubscribing to a lot of emails at once. When you do this, your inbox will not grow as fast and you won’t wake up to a ton of emails you didn’t want in the first place. Check out https://unroll.me.
Try your best to get to inbox zero every day. Don’t check email until 10am. Don’t let it run your day. Focus on your revenue generating activities instead.
[Related Post: The Top 10 Processes To Organize Your Work and Life]
5. Go Paperless
Going digital is amazing. I use Evernote and Dropbox to manage all of my files. I don’t print anything and prefer to keep all of my to-do lists online. If I have to write down my daily to-do list, I write it on my dry-erase board. I am actually getting rid of all of my books too and just going to be reading on my kindle. It’s amazing how great it feels to get rid of all the papers you really don’t need that just make you feel overwhelmed, stressed and disorganized.
Happy uncluttering! Let me know how it goes!
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