One of the best pieces of wisdom I received from a mentor was about how your physical working space gives indication about what your state of mind looks like. In other words, if your working space is cluttered and messy, chances are so is your mind. You may feel disorganized and have scattered focus. Through my own experience I can confirm this to be true. When I am unable to focus on my work, a large part of it is because my surrounding space is a mess.
The good news is that this is an easy fix: clean your workspace. Reset it for your next shift. Your life may be stressful and powerless in handling external obstacles, but you can have control of your workspace environment.
Here are some things you can do before you start working:
- Put away any loose papers. Throw them out, file them, put them in a neat stack and get them out of your sight.
- Put away loose office supplies. You don’t need 10 pens out at a time or paperclips sliding across your desk. Put them away, and leave out only the tools that you need for the work you’re about to do.
- Wipe down your desk. Sometimes the physical act of wiping down your desk and making it shine clean of dust is all you need to feel refreshed and ready to work.
- Only have out the devices you need. If you don’t need your phone for your work, put it away. If you don’t need your tablet for your work, put it away. Take away device distractions.
- Clean off your whiteboard. If your whiteboard is filled with unneeded notes, wipe it clean. If you find that you may need these notes down the road, take a picture of your whiteboard and file away for easy later reference.
- Have good lighting. If natural light helps you work, ensure your blinds are open. If you don’t have windows, ensure you have a lighting level that you’re comfortable with. One of the best investments I ever made was to purchase a light that mimics sunlight. These can be expensive, but if you need sunlight like me to feel at your best, it’s worth the purchase.
By taking just a few minutes of time to reset your work environment you can save minutes of time in lost focus. Let your work take the spotlight by removing the distractions around your physical space. When you clean your space and clear your mind you’ll be bringing your best self to your work. Happy cleaning!