The appearance and condition of our physical environments (at home or on the job) can affect how we think and feel during our workday. Cluttered, chaotic and unappealing surroundings contribute to scattered, negative thoughts. We feel overwhelmed and weary before the day even begins. In contrast, we are enlivened for the day when we can enter a workspace that is orderly and beautiful. Here are three things you can do to create a better work environment:
1. Reduce Unfinished Business
Most of the clutter and chaos in our workspaces consists of unfinished business in the form of unprocessed mail, un-filed files, tools left laying where they were last used, unanswered correspondence, projects left undone, etc. This is a poor way to function.
Always remember that unfinished business is an energy leak. It sidetracks your attention away from what you need to do in the present with constant reminders of what you have failed to complete in the past. For better results, cultivate the habit of being a finisher. You will experience less stress, your self-esteem will increase and your creativity will improve, as your physical environment becomes more orderly and a better reflection of a better you.
2. Streamline Work Processes
It is difficult to feel effective when we are inefficient in the way we work. The quickest way to get work done is to think of it as an assembly line—a way of working that demands getting the most done with the least amount of effort, in the least amount of time.
Eliminate wasted movement by putting tools and supplies in arm’s reach of where you do your work. Refuse to walk any farther than necessary to get the job done. (Don’t, for example, store the piano music on the other side of the room from the piano.) Make it easy to access what you need and you automatically make it easy to put items away again when the task is complete.
3. Refresh Your Gaze
Nature never remains the same and neither should our work environments. Variety keeps us mentally stimulated and sharp. Seeing the same items on the desk, the same pictures on the wall day-after-day will eventually render them invisible. We fail to see what we have seen in the same way for too long.
When you feel yourself becoming bored and mentally dull, refresh your gaze by hanging new pictures on the wall, updating the photos on your desk, or placing a vase of flowers on the table. Washing your windows and cleaning out a desk drawer will do the same thing. It is surprising how the act of refreshing the beauty in your work environment will help your environment empower and renew you.
We have many demands on our attention, time, and energy. An orderly and beautiful workspace can help us feel alert and confident. We are able to focus on the work at hand without a distracting sense of impending disaster. If we wish to work as effectively as possible then we will make the time to take care of our physical environments so our physical environments can then “take care” of us.
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