Have you ever noticed that after some time in a space, you stop noticing things? Maybe the wobbly night table in your bedroom stops bothering you, or the colorful art on the wall no longer grabs your attention each time you walk by? It’s human nature to adapt to new environments but, once we do, we stop improving our space for the better, until one day we show up to work and wonder who made such a terrible mess of our desk. Sometimes we need to be pulled forcibly from our complacency before we come to the realization that our environment could do a lot more for us than it’s currently doing.
Here are a few quick pick-me ups if you, too, came in this morning and found that your space could use a lift, or if you’re tired of sifting through the piles to find the paper you need.
Clear your surface of everything but the essentials.
Have within reach only things that you use on a daily basis or that are beautiful to look at. You’ll breathe more easily, find things more quickly, and present a more professional attitude to colleagues and supervisors. Get storage up off your desk and onto your walls, if you can!
Give everything a quick polish.
I know I’m not the only one with a layer of dust on my monitor and errant muffin crumbs in the crevices of my keyboard.
Get control of that “everything drawer”.
Get rid of your predecessor’s files if you haven’t referenced them in years. Add dividers or small closed boxes for paperclips, business cards, post-it notes, and emergency Tylenol.
Replace your mouse pad.
Those things get dirty. Consider something you can wipe down and that adds sleek glitz to your space.
5. Organization expert Peter Walsh suggests that every professional first ask themselves, What do I want from my office space, and is it meeting my needs? Create a system for whatever you do regularly.
For example, at the end of each month I complete an American Express form for my department, and all month long I slip the incoming receipts into a decorative folder on my desk. This way, when the form hits my inbox, I have everything in one place without scrambling.
6. Add something personal that reminds you of the world outside.
Sometimes we need a touchstone to remind us of why we do the work we do.
7. Use color to delineate your space.
You never want your cubicle to look like Elle Woods’ bedroom, but a little color can set you apart and make you feel at home at your own desk. Even a little colorful pillow at the small of your back can make you feel more like a professional and less like a workday drudge.
8. Bring your monitor up to eye level.
Neck pain can ruin your afternoon and seriously handicap your productivity. This is no fun to spend money on, but it can make all the difference.
9. Have a place to set down your commuting supplies
Piles of shoes under your desk isn’t professional or welcoming. TJMaxx stocks cardboard storage containers that are covered in patterned paper or fabric. Invest in one and make sure your commuter shoes end up there each morning. While you’re at it, hang a hook for your coat and bag.
10. Stash something to offer
Everyone loves a square of good chocolate at 2pm. It’s just science. Chocolate covered almonds with a sprinkling of sea salt are never out of place.