Have a think about how much you own that you don’t really use or you aren’t really familiar with. Does it cause a slight amount of stress to bubble up? Imagine the alternative: being fully aware of exactly what you own and being able to run through your mind and do a complete ‘stock take’.
Feels better doesn’t it? And actually, that feeling goes a long way to making you more energetic, less stressed and even less productivity.
You might not realize it but right now, there is a good chance that your clutter and disorganization is making you less productive! Of course, this comes down to creating a great home office space that you can work well in. But it also comes down to a lot of much simpler things.
Having a nicer home for instance can actually make you more likely to shave, more likely to iron your clothes and more likely to generally stay on top of things.
Conversely, having to dig through drawers whenever you need to find something or having to dig through papers to answer that important post will only make you less effective in every area of your life. It’s time to look at how becoming more minimal can help you to create a much more productive work flow.
The Ultimate Home Office
When it comes to productivity at home, most of us will think of a home office space where we are likely to keep a computer, our important documents and probably any utensils and other items of that nature.
This might be where you do your main job if you have the luxury of working from home, or it may just be where you do things like paper work. Perhaps you enjoy working on personal projects here.
But if you’re like most people, then your office is going to be covered in documents and papers and look like a bomb has hit it. Then there will be the wires running across the room.One way to fix all this is by getting a better filing system for your documents.
This can start with a filing cabinet and if you aren’t able to get one of those for lack of space, consider a brief case with a file system (they do exist!).
Of course some documents are likely to be required at any given time and you can’t just file everything away! The solution to this issue, is to use paper trays.
A good way to organize these is by thinking in terms of how the human memory works – with a ‘working’, ‘short term’ and ‘long term’ system. Your working system is the top tray and it’s where you put everything you’re working on right at this moment. You sort through this every day and you either throw things out or put them on the lower draw, which is ‘short term memory’.
Then, at the end of each week on a Friday, you will sort through the short term tray and put long term items into the filing cabinet, while throwing everything else away.
This works well because it acknowledges the fact that some things will need to be immediately accessible but it also forces you to do your sorting in small chunks rather than let a mountain of paper build up on your desk. Better yet though is simply to reduce the amount of paper you work with in general.
Having a notebook to keep handwritten notes in is a good start and from there, you should also look into switching to digital bills and statements wherever possible.
This will make it much easier to stay organized, as well as getting a scanner with OCR (optical character recognition). This will let you scan letters and other hardcopy documents and turn them into searchable Word documents and PDFs.
From there, simply shred and throw away! With these things in hand, you’ll be able to massively reduce the amount of paperwork in your office and around your house, which will make it much easier to keep your home tidy and to stay productive.
Cable management is also an important tip as we touched on earlier. This can also mean using wireless devices where possible, which will give you more ways that you can interact with your technology.
You can even go as far as to use products like Amazon Echo, which will let you talk to your computer. Likewise, try to simplify other processes and things you find yourself doing regularly.
Think in terms of efficiency by removing the number of steps needed to accomplish any given task.
This might mean ensuring that you have all the work surfaces you need nearby and easily accessible for example, or it might mean ensuring that the tools you need are easy to pull out of a drawer without digging first!
The key is to remove clutter but with the end of making it easier for you to get work done. Otherwise, keeping your office productive will once again mean removing items from your surfaces and removing busy furniture and patterns.
There’s a particular type of clutter to remove from a home office too – and that is anything that could be considered a distraction. The aim is to make sure that you keep your office space and your personal life separate.
Your office is not meant to be somewhere where you have fun, it is meant to be somewhere that you get work done. This is not a place for a second TV and nor is it a place for a bunch of books.
This isn’t to say that your room should be bland – in fact it is generally considered that rooms with a bit of color and interest will be more conducive to productivity and creativity in particular. The aim isn’t to make a stuffy corporate-looking room in your own house! But just make sure that you do keep your room free from things that are clearly distracting and that will make it harder for you not to procrastinate!
Keeping Your Tech Clean and Fast
Note that just as important here is to keep your technology running well. Just as a room can become an outward representation of your state of mind, the same is also often true of your computer.
If your computer is covered in desktop icons and if it seems to be taking longer and longer to load, then there’s a good chance that you have been stressed and bogged down and this is once again an outward demonstration of that busy schedule.
Worse, it means you’ll be more likely to lose important files and it means you’ll feel more stressed every time you turn the computer on.Solve this issue by keeping your computer as minimal as your room.
Make a habit of deleting unnecessary icons and files, keep your virus checker up-to-date and try not to install things you don’t need. The result will be that your computer boots faster and helps you to stay more productive!