Monday morning. Struggling to concentrate and procrastinating on Facebook? Trust me, we’ve all been there. Usually, we put it down to being in a rut or it being the start of the week. But did you ever think your storage and organisation strategies could be to blame?
When most people think of ways to boost their productivity, they think of time-management hacks and mental perspective tweaks – basically tricking yourself into working harder.
While all that stuff is great, we believe your working environment can play just as important a role. If you have to spend eight hours in a cramped, cluttered and depressing workspace, it’s inevitable that your productivity will take a hit.
In this article, I have tapped some of our most experienced storage experts to find out how they arrange their workplace to boost their productivity. I hope you enjoy the read and find something to take away.
Be Ruthless with Paper
Your offices are not a graveyard for old, unused and unloved documents. You shouldn’t have to step around archive boxes, over bound reams and through stray s sheets of paper to get to your desk.
If any of that sounds familiar, your document storage strategy simply isn’t working.
Get your documents in archive boxes and get those boxes to a storage area. Whether it’s internal, external or digitised and hosted, it doesn’t matter. Just get all your old paperwork out of your way and give yourself space to think and work. You’ll be surprised quite how revitalised you feel when you’re not flanked by stacks of paperwork.
Position by Use
The Pareto principle says that for most events 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. The same, I think, is true for objects.
For 80 percent of my work, I only need 20 percent of the things on my desk.
For 80 percent of the day, I can get by using a computer, a phone and a notepad. It’s very infrequent that I need to break out the facility’s camera equipment, high-res scanner or any other bit of kit. I’d guess that most other people are in the same boat – even if the specific equipment changes.
Considering how infrequently you use some of your things, it doesn’t make sense to arrange everything with equal priority on your desk or work space.
For example, if you require a calculator for every single task but never need to physically write anything down, keep your calculator close by and stick the notepad in your drawer. It sounds simple but you’d be amazed at how many people simply don’t think about how likely they are to need each bit of kit.
Prioritising your things by usage means you aren’t constantly fumbling through a random assortment of objects, looking for the one you actually need.
Clean as You Go
For some smaller tasks, it makes sense to batch them together. For example, it makes sense for managers to work through expenses at the end of every month rather than dealing with each individual request as it arrives.
However, organising your work space isn’t one of these batch-ready tasks.
Just like a commercial kitchen, leaving all your cleaning until the end of the day is a very bad idea. If you leave all your cleaning until the end of the day, your work space will be a catastrophe come five o’clock.
And there’s nothing more draining than spending an extra half an hour tidying everything up before going home.
Now, I’m not suggesting to stop every two minutes to realign your pens and clean your keyboard. Not only is that disruptive but it’s inefficient.
Instead, I recommend you pause whenever you complete a smaller sub-task and clean your work area. This helps keep your work space in a manageable state and helps you mentally segment larger projects into bite-sized chunks. It really is a win-win.
Bonus Tip: Add Some Greenery
Even though I’m obsessed with finding the best ways to store things, doesn’t mean that I think that adding new things can’t help. In fact, I believe adding new objects to your work space can boost your productivity just as much as taking them away.
I’m not talking about ergonomic chairs or standing desks, though, this time, I’m talking about the humble plant.
NASA – yes, that NASA – actually ran a study into plants and their effect on workplace air
They found that common houseplants can actually remove harmful toxins for from the air and recommend including one plant per 100 square feet of space.
So not only will a plant help inject a bit of colour but it will actually improve the quality of the air you’re breathing. Anyone who’s been on a plane knows exactly what poor air quality can do to your mood and productivity.
So, there you have it. Four super simple tips to improve your work space and boost your productivity. Now, these tips won’t turn you into Elon Musk overnight but they will help create a more supportive environment and that’s half the battle.
If you have any workplace productivity tips, share them in the comments and help other people supercharge their work.