Decluttering Your Office Space

It’s a challenge!  Stuff just accumulates.  When work is busy and I’m moving fast from developing training to working with my wonderful coaching clients, time just gallops by.  Yes, things get done, projects organized, papers filed . . . most of the time.  But in the whirlwind of daily work life,  it’s tough to keep up with it all especially the paper follow-up and those technology glitches that can stop me cold.

And I’m not the only one that struggles with “stuff” overload . . . even my corporate attorney Dad, who at age 93 still works, has been talking for weeks about not being able to find anything on his desk.  I tried to help him yesterday and even I couldn’t find anything on his desk.

Is it hopeless?  Is it worth the effort?  Yes, but it takes real determination ’cause frankly it’s not much fun to unload the office and start reorganizing from scratch.  But “decluttering” is the best thing you can do for your psychological health, your work productivity and your pocketbook.

Here’s How to Start . . .

These three steps work well for me – modify for what works well for you.  As my twin sister would say “Don’t over think it.  Just keep moving”.

First, set the timer for 45 – 50 minutes so you have an end in sight (or go by project).

Second, identify one small area – the top of your desk, a supply cabinet, a bookcase – just one area that feels doable.  Now literally walk over and pick up everything in that space and carry it into another room.  Yes, just pick it up (don’t sort it) and just carry it into an empty room and put it down on a table in three rough piles:  Keep, Maybe, Toss.  Later you’ll go in and do a quick sort of those piles.  Warning . . . don’t put it on the floor because you’ll never get back to it.

Third, once you’ve cleared out this area stand back and look at it.  It looks different doesn’t it?  And I bet it feels different as well.  Clutter drains energy.  So when you create this physical space you are also creating even a more powerful psychological space.  Give yourself a pat on the back – you did it – and now the ball is rolling.

Keep up the momentum by decluttering another small area each day.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised how one success builds on the next.  You’ll find that there is an optimum time to do this.  A time that you don’t mind doing something kind of mundane and mindless like decluttering.

Putting Things Back

But now you need to bring some things back.  Decide how you what your office space to look.  Be bold.  You may decide to move your furniture around, switch up the pictures, change the decorations or maybe just bring in some fresh flowers each week.  Make it yours and make it good for your soul.

Now go back to that room where you have your three piles.  Touch each item first and decide if you really need it to do your best work.  Is it really necessary?  Is it functional?  Does it contribute to making your office space “feel good”?  Keep it simple and don’t over think it.  But just bring back about 1/3 or less of what you took out.  Remember, more is better!

Now, tomorrow (Saturday) my twin sister and I will head down to my office to continue the momentum of decluttering.  With her help and a bit of nagging we’ll knock out a couple of hours and then hubby Wally will come in on Sunday to help with rearranging the furniture.  That’s before the Super Bowl game!

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