Many of us are coming close to entering our second year of working from home. I’ve worked from home for over 20 years, since my second child was born, but never without plenty of travel and out-of-office meetings (missing those!). A few years ago, I “KonMari’d” my space, but after a year of no business travel, I found myself once again in need of a makeover. To inspire my organizing, I tuned in to the Darien Library program on Getting Organized with Adele Mahabir and the Mark Twain library talk, “Houseplants by Design” with Tovah Martin. Here’s what the experts suggest.
Minimize distractions According to psychologists, architects, designers, and professional organizers, what we need is attractive space where we can focus and bring out our most effective selves. This means we need to eliminate distractions and reduce our stress levels. When we list our homes to make them attractive for sale, we declutter, clean, and make our homes look functional and appealing. We deserve to live in that home, and work in that office space.
Upgrade aesthetic Even if our spaces are no bigger than a corner, we should design them to our tastes. Use attractive containers to store and organize office supplies. Display things that are meaningful. House plants add color and texture, and the relaxation that nature offers. Surrounding ourselves with things of beauty that bring us joy make it easier to focus. Where you put your office matters, too. Donald Rattner says, “We think more creatively when we occupy spaces with high ceilings, have our backs to a wall, and can see into the distance.
Establish New Habits It’s a new year and spring is coming, making it a good time to hit the reset button. Now is the time for us to change old habits that don’t serve us well anymore. Get rid of everything we don’t need anymore – clothes, papers, reports, food in the cabinet – and everything else we no longer need or find useful. It’s also a great time to set up new systems, reset our intentions, and adopt new habits that improve our health, reduce our stress, and enhance our creativity.
Donate Start by sorting. Adele calls sorting “the main event.” Sort and categorize things by color, function – and into two groups – keep and donate. There are many people and organizations that can use what we’re discarding. Think local organizations, public and private food banks, schools and other organizations, and thrift shops, which are gold mines of $1 finds. If clearing out furniture and storage units, the Salvation Army will pick it up in most areas and both the Salvation Army and Goodwill have contactless curbside drop off.
Declutter daily Take a moment at the end of the day to reorganize and reset our home office spaces so they are welcoming and inviting in the morning. Create an end of day ritual. My ritual includes sitting with a cup of ginger tea and some favorite music. We all need time to decompress and empty our minds of the clutter. When we take moments to hydrate and relax, have conversations and make connections, and feed our souls, our focus, creativity and happiness expand exponentially.
Renewing our office spaces gives us more mind space. Let’s clear out the clutter that’s weighing us down.
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Zoom Calls: How To Stay Engaged and Avoid Zoom Burnout
What You Need to Know About In-Person Research During a Pandemic