Tips on Creating a Productive Office Space

I love to cycle and already have my first ride of the new year under my belt! Yes, I do it for the exercise, but in all honesty I just love being outside and the mental health benefits far outweigh the physical ones — most days at least.

As Fall approached last year and the days became cooler, I cut back on my riding. When I ride, it’s in shorts and a t-shirt, no fancy gear. Then I realized that I was missing my early morning rides tremendously because it was too chilly.

All I needed was the right gear, and I was able to get back on the trail. I may not be the most fashionable cyclist; however, taking some gear that I had on hand combined with some new purchases makes for a comfortable and enjoyable ride even in the cold weather. I’m happy!

Do you have the right gear for your job? Or a better question may be, is the gear that you do have serving you well? In my case, my gear served me very well during the warm summer months. However, as the temperature dropped I needed something different if I wanted to continue to ride until the snow began to fall.

What about your office? Look around. Has your office space become a randomly cobbled together variety of tools leaving it looking more like an office supply store’s discount table? First, let’s take a look at what could be hindering your efforts instead of supporting them. Could the following be tripping you up?

  • Sticky notes scattered all over your desk or computer?
  • Stacking trays, both horizontal and vertical ones, stuffed with paper?
  • Multiple places for to-dos — sticky notes, scrap pieces of paper, email inbox?
  • Piles of papers that have accumulated over time (and collected quite a bit of dust) because you don’t have time to properly file them away or, even worse, you can never find something once you’ve filed it?
  • Power supply cords journeying around your desk?
  • Poor lighting?
This is my assistant's new home office. She didn't feel professional working in an office filled with a hodgepodge of furniture. Her new set-up includes plenty of storage and workspace -- along with all of the items mentioned here.

This is my assistant’s new home office. She didn’t feel professional working in an office filled with a hodgepodge of furniture. Her new set-up includes plenty of storage and workspace — along with all of the items mentioned here.

Now… step back and pretend that you are starting fresh with your office. How would you set it up differently? Are there tools that aren’t serving you well and are actually contributing to the clutter and chaos? Here are some basics to consider:

  • A large, clean work surface to spread out and do your work.
  • One place to capture all of your to-dos.
  • One calendar for all appointments and activities.
  • Desk accessories including: stapler, tape, staple remover, pens, pencils, etc.
  • A filing system that actually works.
  • Enough storage space.
  • Good lighting.
  • Comfortable chair that supports your back.
  • Comfortable position for computer, monitor, and keyboard.
  • Foot stool to help with your sitting posture.

While in the middle of doing your work, your office might not seem very organized much like your kitchen doesn’t look really together as you cook for a large family gathering. Yet when that gathering is done, it is easy to clean up because you know where everything needs to go — and you have a system to clean up fast and efficiently. The same strategy can be used in the office, have a place for everything and just use the tools you need to get the job done.

What gear do you need?