This time every year, we have a chance to review, refresh and de-clutter our work space with National Clean Off Your Desk Day, celebrated annually on the second Monday in January.
I’ve published many articles about organizing your work surface, but today I suggest you lift your eyes, and organize your visual work space (your view).
Look up from your desk for this one. What do you see? Look straight ahead, side to side. Order or chaos? Positive messages or nagging responsibilities? Simple beautiful things, or old and outdated things? We are all influenced by our visual fields, but we can also become overwhelmed with visual clutter.
Let’s make it better! Think about this statement: “I want to see that which I want to attract.” For me, I want to look at a view that is simple, streamlined, functional and beautiful!
SORT your stuff into categories:
Clear the stuff off that message board or wall in front of you. Yes, all of it.
Then, sort the stuff into categories, for example: Photos, memos, messages, task reminders (bills on paperclips to send in or pay, post it notes with “call Bob”, or “order baby shower gift”), decor / tchotchke / kitsch, things to go elsewhere or to other people, etc.
Ok, friends. Time to get real. Let’s go back to the statement “I want to see that which I want to attract.” Keep only the items that encourage, nourish and support your work. Put away the rest, or purge it completely.
If you are not ready to part with all the stuff, consider a seasonal visual work space / view: swapping out your photos or inspirational messages every week / month or season.
(I like my Chrome extension Momentum: every day I’m provided a new beautiful photo, an inspirational quote and a space to jot down my intention for the day. Then I see it whenever I sit down to work at my computer.)
A few words about… Post-It Notes. I have a love/hate relationship with Post-It Notes. Post-Its are meant to be momentary reminders. However, when we use Post-Its a lot, we start to look past them. When I ask clients about the notes all over their work space, I’ll hear “Oh, they’ve been there so long, I don’t even see them anymore.” Then WHY ARE THEY THERE?
So, jot a note on a Post-It Note, and then do something with it. An event reminder? Put it in your calendar. A phone number? Enter it into your contacts. A task reminder or creative idea? Add the task to your to do list, or the idea to your idea file. AND THEN TOSS THE NOTE!!
ASSIGN A HOME, CONTAINERIZE and EQUALIZE:
When assigning a home and containerizing the stuff in our field of vision, consider keeping only those things that are useful and beautiful. Keep pictures that make you smile (only a few), inspirational messages (only a few), and a handful of little items that evoke positive memories or creativity. Add a plant, if you’d like!
Consider boundaries – limit your visual clutter to a small space in your line of sight or just one shelf or tray for kitschy items.
We want a nice view, but not too nice! Have nice things to look at, but not so nice that they pull your focus from your work. I love my vision board (thanks, MTO!), but if I look at it all the time, I take it for granted. It’s more inspiring for me to intentionally look at it, and then set is aside and move on to my tasks.
Now, set a reminder to do this again every few months, to keep your View looking good!
OK, daylight’s wasting! Get on with cleaning off that Desk!