This morning in a team meeting - somehow - we jumped into a short but meaningful chat about "things".
It's not a foreign idea for us to talk about things in our spaces, items we've collected, etc. I always get excited to hear about how people sort and organize their items and collections. But I love even more when people talk about how they up with ways to reduce the amount of things in their spaces.
Removing items can make us feel anxious when we think of this potentially time-consuming and emotionally-charged task.
I was super excited to hear how a teammate is implementing the "5 things" rule. Each day, she chooses five things to remove from her space - anything - as long as there are five things. She does this is a way to ensure she is successful AND instead of thinking of ALL: the things she wishes she could get rid of - that's too much to think about for anyone!
If you're looking for a solid entry point to minimalism at home, in the office, or classroom, this is a great one! You could even remove just ONE thing - it's the perfect starting point if you feel a bit weary about making these changes. And who knows, maybe you will influence someone else to join in the journey with you!
Peering into people's spaces is something that we have gotten used to over the last year and a half. We have been getting glimpses of people's home lives through our little Zoom boxes, getting to know each other in ways we perhaps had never anticipated.
But what fun this has been - getting to see the design, decor and essentials in people's workspaces!
Since a lot of us remain in that virtual world for work, I knew I had to reach out to a few more successful educators so we could find out about the vibe and essentials in those spaces we see so often on our own screens.
This week, we are peeking into the DOPE space of Craig Martin, 2018 National Distinguished Principal, otherwise known as - the Principal of DOPE!
There are so many amazing things I could share about Craig, but you will easily find some of that out when you read his responses below. Here's what Craig had to say about his home workspace.
ME: How do you feel in your space and what makes it feel that way?
Craig: I generally feel cozy when I am working in my home office or school office because the elements that are present were specially chosen to add joy to my day. I am 6'3 and it's hard for me to sit and/or stand at anyone's desk these days. As a 20+ year education veteran, I spend most of my days on the move. When I do settle down in my office, I need to enjoy the bliss of a standing desk and a high chair that will allow me to dangle my feet a bit (smile). For me, it is important that my space feels clean, organized, and therapeutic or restorative. It's why I have environmentally-friendly surface cleaners, color-coded storage bins, aromatherapy oils and diffuser, and a comfy lounge chair and coffee table.
ME: What are the essentials you keep there?
Craig: My workspace essentials are a sound speaker to play music (a little jazz, Broadway, Christian rap, or a good podcast keep me going), aromatherapy (lavender and lemongrass scented oils and mahogany teakwood candles are my faves), a fridge with Gatorade zero or sparkling water, Papermate flair pens, and gum.
ME: What plan do you create or action do you take when you get busy and you lose track of your system/order/time to regain the feeling you need in your workspace?
Craig: When things get hectic and I find that I am overwhelmed because I am behind on a million action items on my five different organizers (Google Keep, Google Calendar, notebook, whiteboard, and notes app on my phone), I pause, breathe, and clean. I seem to find myself more prepared to take on the world when things are in their rightful places and I see things more clearly (as the song goes...). I find myself creating one whiteboard or anchor chart with all key action items that must be done within a week's time. I hunker down and I begin to plow through the items until I hit benchmarks of 25%, 50%, and 75% of items completed. I never hit 100% done because new things show up every day that restarts a new cycle. My advice to anyone who is reimagining how to make their space more fitting for the busy lives we tend to lead--I would posit that your space must remind you of what is important, inspire you to do better each day, and feel like an old friend you can't wait to spend time with--soon.
I love the thought and intention Craig has put into his essentials and space to ensure he can keep his cool, collected self in check, even when the to-do list kicks into high gear. I have a lot to learn from you, my friend!
Take a peek at his set-up below! Thank you sharing, Craig!
For all Craig's goodness, follow him on Twitter.