Regain Your Sanity with Office Minimalism
Just because you’re a successful entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’re good at organizing your office and keeping things in order. Sure, you may be good at closing deals and networking, but you simply can’t figure out how to file papers and create harmony in your surroundings.
That’s okay; not everyone is naturally skilled at organizing their office space. Office minimalism isn’t always a natural skill — learning to let go requires practice.
Organization is important for many reasons. Not only will it promote calm and help you reduce stress in your life, especially during busy periods, but it can also help you be more productive because you’ll never have to waste time looking for things or digging through piles of stuff.
Are you currently feeling overwhelmed by paperwork and office accessories scattered all over your office? Do you have trouble finding things you need because you can’t remember where you left them? If so, you need to read this article.
Purge Your Office Space
Have you heard of professional organizer Marie Kondo? She believes that you should keep only the things that spark joy. Obviously, this might not apply in an office setting, since you need to have things around you that won’t necessarily make you smile. But if things are making you actively miserable, that’s a good sign it may be time to embrace office minimalism.
So while following her philosophy to the letter may not be possible in a workspace, her advice is a good reminder that you should reconsider all the items in your office. Ask yourself, “Why is my desk so cluttered?”
Do you have office supplies, such as a three-hole punch or a Scotch-tape dispenser, that you rarely use? Move them into a drawer so they’re not on your desk, or give them to someone you think could benefit from them. Are there old calendars? Cups full of pencils or thumbtacks that get used once a quarter?
Take a look at your monitor or your corkboard — is it filled with Post-it notes or index cards that are no longer relevant? Old passwords, reminders of events long since passed, or pieces of advice you don’t use? We have a tendency to gloss over objects we’re used to seeing, so take a good hard look.
One effective strategy is to take everything off of your desk, and put the items on the ground or a nearby counter. Then, put everything back that you use and need every day. On the counter or floor, you’ll likely find a pile of dross you almost never use that can be put in drawers or cabinets or thrown away.
Do a clean sweep of your office, and be honest with yourself about what you do and don’t really need.
Invest in a Label Maker
Do you often forget what’s in your filing cabinets, drawers, and storage containers?
Invest in a good label maker, which will allow you to print labels on the fly. Then, you can use those labels to mark everything in your office, from important files, such as financial reports, to everyday things, such as office supplies. Furthermore, if you work with a team of people, the labels will let everyone know where everything is without having to ask or waste time rifling through drawers and boxes.
Consider the purpose of office minimalism: to declutter your life and your mind, to maximize your efficiency and creativity. There is a scientific connection between time and stress: the more we feel we are wasting time, the faster time seems to pass, the more we stress. If you can save time searching your office or workplace, you can directly affect your stress levels in a positive way.
Before you know it, you’ll realize that the label maker is the best purchase you’ve ever made, and you’ll want to label everything in your life!
Encourage Team Members to Follow Your Systems
If you’ve been disorganized for a long time, then your team members are probably used to tossing papers on your desk or leaving other things behind in your office.
When you’re not leading by example, then no one will follow you. After all, your goal should be to “build the company you would want to work for.”
Now that you’ve learned how to organize your office space, you’ll want to encourage everyone to follow your office minimalism strategy so things stay tidy.
First, use the classic method of positive reinforcement. Is there a team member who is particularly organized? Praise them at a meeting; mention how useful their file system has been or how easy it was to find that report because of their strategies. Or simply make sure to compliment workers who begin following your new system right away. Punishment isn’t the only way to enforce rules and systems.
Remember, too, that new hires may be the first employees to target with your new office minimalism system. In fact, there’s research to support that new hires function best with structured learning practices, so creating a step-by-step office minimalism process for your new hires could yield the best results.
Office Minimalism Starts in the Mind
Embracing office minimalism is embracing an uncluttered mind and having it reflected in your physical environment.
Consider listening to productivity podcasts, such as the minimalism-focused Optimal Living Daily, to find new strategies and to hear from a like-minded community. Embrace meditation and mindfulness in order to clear your own mind first.
And remember, office minimalism is a great idea for your home office too.