I have a perfectly good office on the top floor of my house.  But for a few months, I had got out of the habit of using it.  It had turned into a dumping ground, it was messy, there were things that needed filing and I didn’t feel happy working in there.  This led to me spreading out all over the house, which while was quite freeing initially it meant I didn’t always have what I needed to hand, I had to retrieve it from my office.  Whenever I needed to print I had to run upstairs and collect it, assuming the printer hadn’t got jammed, run out of paper, ink etc.

I had to clear everything away for when my family came home, get it out the next day and I was simply moving things from room to room.  Things were becoming disorganised and I was feeling stressed about it and ironically too busy to do anything about it. BUT I was actually wasting a huge amount of time running up and down the stairs (although good for my fitness!) All in all it was a frustrating situation and meant I didn’t have that clear break from work at the end of the day, it encroached into time with my family and was also affecting my productivity.

So when I had a meeting move by an hour last week I took the bull by the horns and decided to sort it all out. If you are in a similar situation and in need of some motivation I’ve detailed exactly what I did to create my own, motivating, productive little space again!

  • Firstly I moved everything that had been dumped in there to its rightful home which helped me find some floor space immediately!
  • I had a lot of paperwork that needed filing and so sat on the floor and went through it all, collated per topic and popped them in folders with labels on the front.
  • I changed my method of filing from the lever arch files where I needed to hole punch everything to hanging suspension files in a filing cabinet. This was one of my excuses for not filing as I didn’t have time to hole punch things!
  • Sorted all my envelopes, paper, stationery etc into one place so everything is to hand and I’m not scrabbling around trying to find a stapler or post it note!
  • I took all of my chargers back upstairs so I can now leave my laptop set up at the end of each day, fully charge it so I don’t have any battery issues and no one trips over the wire! Same with my phone.
  • The left side of the desk is current projects I’m working on. These are labelled per folder and mean I have easy access to them and are all on hand should a client call and need a quick answer.
  • The right side has my diary, open on the relevant page so I can keep track of my ‘to do list and add/takeaway things accordingly.
  • At the end of every day, I transfer anything I didn’t finish onto my to-do list for the following day. Sort through my project files, move any documents I’ve finished with into the client file in my filing cabinet.
  • I’ve popped a vase of flowers on my desk because, well who doesn’t feel happy when they look at flowers?!
  • I’ve even created a ‘reading folder’ which is made up of interesting articles that I’d like to explore. So whenever I have 5 mins spare, or I’m grabbing a cuppa I can read through them.  Something I’ve always had the best of intentions to do, but just never got round to it.

So the moral of the story is that by seizing that hour I’ve probably reclaimed many, but not only that I’ve separated home and work again and improved my mental health.  I love my little office, I’m whizzing through things that previously I’d put on the back burner as I didn’t have time.

I’d love to know where you work and why.  Is it conducive to a good working environment? If not maybe try and reclaim that hour (or two) and use my tips to help you improve your working space.

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