Working From Home

Arranging your desk for maximum productivity

The personal development gurus at Forge have a few helpful tidbits for your home office if your desire is to declutter.

Truck drivers have dashboards, plane pilots have cockpits. You have a desk. It’s your work station – your zone of profound thought, boundless potential, and incredible achievement.

It’s probably messy too. Or, if not messy, it’s likely not arranged for optimal productivity. By reordering your work station to prioritise functionality, minimalism, and the particulars of your projects or working style, you may take your work output to new heights.

Check out these ideas and suggestions, brought to you by Forge, and put the old Einsteinian adage to the test: ‘If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?’

Functionality first
Life coach and home organiser Meghan Meredith says we should focus on the must-have functional items. ‘My desktop must-haves include a stapler; a jar of pens, pencils and highlighters; a candle; and, most important, my planners.’

That means you can (and probably should) forgo the superfluous desk tools and decorations. They generally only serve to distract. If a planner is your dedicated schedule-keeper, you don’t need a calendar. If you only use pens and highlighters, purge your desk zone of fancy textas and paperclip chains. Spare loose-leaf paper? Get rid of it, lest you get distracted from your screen at regular intervals to doodle.

Go minimal
This pointer from productivity expert Sarah Steckler goes hand-in-hand with the one above. Steckler posits that practising minimalism helps avoid decision fatigue. ‘If you have a lot of clutter on your desk, it creates a lot of stimuli for your brain to constantly react and respond to.’

You may find that certain decorative items help you centre your thoughts. If you can’t do without them all – but are finding they are forming an ensemble of clutter around your desktop monitor – Steckler suggests you try switching them out on a weekly basis. Week A is teddy bears, for instance; Week B, vintage Transformers.

Keep your values front of mind
Kelly Poulson is a life and career coach and she says you should constantly remind yourself, visually, of why (and how) you do what you do. ‘…Put a reminder of your values front and center’, she advises, ‘whether that’s with a Post-it Note, a printout, or a computer screen background’.

Your values can help keep you motivated and productive when you’re feeling overwhelmed, or when you aren’t sure what to do next. Do you value speedy customer service? Open communication? These values may be obvious to you, but write them down anyway. Absorb them in a new way and you’ll better internalise what you’re trying to convey to yourself.

‘It’s really easy to get swept up in work and spend time on less important things’, Poulson says. True enough.

Add green foliage
Yup. According to interior designer Amanda Amato: ‘Studies have proven that plants enhance how we feel in our interior environments.’ Research also suggests that working near plants can minimise stress and anger and boost our wellbeing.

Check out the full article here – there are a few more cracking suggestions worth heeding.