You may spend more hours in your office than in any other room in your environment. How is this important space working for you?
You may not—or you may!—be able to swing a major re-do, but it is quite possible even a few little changes could make a big difference in your comfort, disposition, and productivity. Having a pleasant workspace contributes to one’s sense of being competent. An orderly office indicates to others that you are in control of the tasks and materials at hand. Workspace organization strengthens your professional image and gives members faith in your ability to handle the administrative tasks of the church.
• Give your desk the top spot.
You know your day better than anyone, but even if you divide your workday into time at a desk and a computer station, give attention to the placement of your desk. Generally it is advantageous for your desk to be facing the room’s main entrance. Having the desk at a diagonal makes for an interesting look and still gives a good vantage point. Try out possible furniture arrangements on paper; then make your move.
• Watch your back.
No piece of furniture is more important to your well-being than your desk chair. If yours is not ergonomically correct and comfortable, you owe it to yourself to do what it takes to present your case for a proper chair. If you do have a good chair, be sure you have it adjusted for the perfect fit.
• Get in the flow.
Working outward from your desk, does the physical arrangement of your computer, copier, file cabinets, and other equipment fit the flow of your daily work? Are the things you use frequently conveniently placed? Rearranging can eliminate extra steps that waste time and energy. L- and U-shaped arrangements often work well, putting things within easy reach.
• Unclutter your desktop.
The top of your desk is prime workspace and needs to be geared toward getting things done—toward action. Not storage, not filing, not decoration. Action.
Some think a cluttered desks shows others they are busy with many important projects and therefore indispensable to the work of the office. But the message others are more likely to receive is that the desk owner is in over her head. Every paper on a cluttered desktop can be seen as a decision unmade.
• Prioritize your stuff.
Uncluttered doesn’t mean empty.
Make your workspace work for you by using the accessibility principle: Keep what you use regularly within easy reach. The less an item is used, the farther from your desktop it can be. A workable rule of thumb is:
If used daily, it can live on top of the desk.
If used weekly, it can live inside the desk.
If used monthly, it can live in your office.
If used less, it can be moved to a storage closet or off-site.
Applying the guidelines above involves moving things around, maybe lots of things. Do more than rearrange. Eliminate everything superfluous or nonfunctional. Be ruthless. Give yourself room to function without distraction. With the unnecessary removed, organize the essentials.
Start with a vertical file holder. Even in this digital age, dealing with paper is a fact of life. Create a set of colored folders labeled to manage the papers you routinely handle. You need never pile papers again.
Next, utilize labels. Apply a set to the dividers in your desk drawers. Label each square as to what goes there: pens, scissors, keys, rubber bands, whatever. Put things only in their appropriate squares. Moving to the workroom, label shelves to show where supplies will be stored: paper, tape, inks, and so on. When a supply in its spot gets low, it’s time to restock.
Finally, add a few carefully chosen personal touches—a plant, a photo, a painting.
Once you have established a place for everything, the trick is to keep everything in its place. Schedule regular weekly times to refresh your workplace. Enjoy!