Organizing Your Office

What does your office say about you?

That you are orderly and businesslike? Sloppy but (maybe) creative? Hopelessly overwhelmed?

Whatever your natural tendency might be — anal-retentive, loosey-goosey, or whatever — you’ll do more and do it all with less anxiety if your office is well-organized. All kinds of studies prove this to be so. Despite what sloppy people say about knowing “just where everything is,” experts say a messy office is inefficient.

I’ve added at least an hour of extra productivity to my day by planning and organizing my work. A big part of that has to do with the physical organization of my environment.

Here’s what I do to make my day’s work easier. Some of these ideas may be helpful to you.

1. You need a range of lighting from subtle to very bright. To do this in a cost-effective manner, you will need three or four light sources. Use the best-quality light you can afford.

2. Spare no expense on your workspace. Your desk and credenza should be tailor-made to fit your working style. Don’t shortchange yourself here. Give yourself plenty of surface and ample space in which to move around from desk to credenza and back.

3. Keep all regular reference sources handy — preferably within a step and a grab from your chair. This can be done by furnishing your office with customized or store-bought bookshelves, none of which should be expensive.

4. Get a great (not simply good) chair. Your chair is something you should spend a fortune on. Just as you do with your bed, you’ll be spending six or more hours a day on it. It’s infinitely more important to your work and your health than is your car — and what do you spend on your car?

5. Decorate your office with signs of who you are as a complete person. Put up your family photos and your business awards too. The walls and spaces of your office should be full of physical signals that will talk to you about your ambitions, your talent, your dreams, and your future.

6. Keep a kitchen timer on your desk. Use it to make sure you are never seated for more than an hour at a time. Each time it goes off, stand up and do something other than work for five minutes: stretch, shoot pool, or have a drink of water.

7. Get rid of the mess. You may think it works to your advantage to have everything you could possibly need piled up around you, but it doesn’t. It just shows the rest of the world how unwilling you are to take control of your life.

8. Put something in easy sight of you that makes you smile. Maybe a photo of your dog. Or an inspirational quotation. Keep it there to work its magic until it loses power and then find something new to replace it.