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Some of you, like myself, may have made a resolution that pertains to work – mine was specifically to create a more organized and productive workspace. With that said, I became quite excited about the decor and organizational aspects of this goal; however, prior to plowing ahead, I wanted to create a checklist to ensure that the foundation of what makes a productive office was laid out properly, and below are what I believe to be the most important pieces to creating an office space that is not only welcoming to the worker, but successful in its production.
Make Wise Color Choices
When it comes to painting or wallpapering your office, make sure you decide on a color that is inspiring, not depleting. After all, this area of the house has a very focused purpose – to create a product that reflects the artist/worker’s best abilities. Some may prefer a clean, streamlined space – white or off-white perhaps, some may prefer more earth tones that are neutral in their base – taupe, chocolates, beige, etc, while others may want to be a bit more creative and colorful – yellows, greens and shades of orange. Whatever you choose, remember that you are still going to be able to bring in accessories and furniture, so it might be best to keep the foundation (walls, floors, etc) calming and add color (if wanted) by way of photos, pillows, shelving decor, etc. Either way, let what inspires you and prompts you to create be your driving force when making a decision when it comes to color choices.
Create a Place of Inspiration
Once the color of the walls has been decided upon, place images and objects that continue to create a place of inspiration. Perhaps a bamboo plant (they welcome good luck) or flowers? Is music a must in your office? Why not include a quality Bose radio or dock for your iPod? If you are a writer like me, I need seating that is comfortable whether I’m working at the desk or plopped down on the couch with my laptop, so choosing furniture that is welcoming and soothing is something to keep in mind as well.
When it Comes to Technology – Quality vs. Quantity
Less is more, and while you may not have the budget for an Apple MacBook Pro, trust me, it is worth saving up for, as after purchasing my Dell laptop three years ago, I have now spent just as much (and more likely more) than I would have on an Apple. Eliminate the headaches and purchase quality when it comes to the tools you depend on.
Whether you adhere to the rules of feng shui or not, choose to place your desk in such a way that allows you to see the door or entrance to your office. In other words, do not place yourself with your back to the door. Initially this may not seem like a big deal, but the energy and command of the room you will convey is immediate when you face whatever is brought through the door to your space of production.
First, remove all clutter and begin a filing system that is easy to follow and that you will adhere to consistently. Then create a place for everything – incoming/outgoing mail, business cards, pens, notepads, inspiration board, charging station for all of your technology, etc. Then follow the system that you have created. Not only will it save you time, but it will free your mind, allowing it to be open to more ideas and a flow of imagination. Another aspect of organization is how you travel and then return to your office. Do you have the proper carrier cases for your laptop, iPad, etc? Knowing you’re always able to function regardless of where you are and where to place these items in your office is something to keep in mind as well. Click here for more ideas on how to become better organized.
Use ONE Calendar
With the endless options for keeping a planner – Google Docs, iPhone, Blackberry, Franklin planners, etc – it’s easy to think that maybe each of the systems offered to us should be used, but immediately I would advice to ignore that particular thought. First of all, keep it simple. The best way to do that is to choose one system. Come to understand which system works best with your way of doing things and then regardless of whether other people understand it or not, stick to it and ignore what others may believe is the better choice. For example, I tried to used my former Blackberry’s calendar and then I realized I loved having to handwrite my daily schedule. So I reverted back to Franklin Planners and have never looked back. This way you know exactly where everything is and don’t have to wonder which calendar contains that necessary information that you’re searching for at any given moment.
Once you have created a foundation that promotes success, the rest is up to you – the doer, the creator, the programmer. So enjoy the design process and enjoy even more so the creative process.
Explore episode #60 of The Simple Sophisticate podcast for more ideas and inspiration for your office.