About a year ago, at the start of the pandemic, I joined a business group that has forever changed my life (thank you, LaVonna!). That's another several blog posts - but in that group was this really interesting lady, Naomi.
Naomi Church of Growing Minds Consulting, LLC specializes in math education, and math people often catch my interest so I knew she would be someone I'd want to get to know. Not only was SHE interesting, her home office always caught my attention whenever we were on Zoom sessions. I could tell certain things were important for her, in her space by looking at the little square box on my own screen, and listening to her speak.
I knew Naomi had some effective technology in her space because of her crisp sound and good lighting. I already knew that she and I had an interest in organization and space set-up but when she mentioned that her space made her feel calm in a social media comment in one of our groups, I simply had to ask her to be a guest on the blog! And, not only does she share what's in her office, but she shares with us her morning set-up ritual. I love that! An organizer's dream!
Me: How do you feel in your workspace? What creates this feeling?
N: It has taken a while, but over time I’ve created a home workspace that helps me feel calm and motivated to work. As an educational consultant, I work from home most of the time. When I wake up in the morning I’m actually excited to go down to my office and get started on my projects and meetings for the day. I have developed a work day startup routine that works for me.
I have found that setting up this routine with the lighting and the scents helps to signal definitively the start of my work day and helps me to be in the frame of mind in which I can be most productive.
My desk used to be covered in different piles of papers and binders. I have found that when I begin work in the morning with a clutter-free workspace I’m more relaxed and excited about starting. I used to walk in in the morning and was almost immediately frustrated by the piles. It felt like I had more to do than I actually did because of the space I was working in. It definitely took an entire day, maybe more, to initially throw out unnecessary items, file my plethora of papers and put away my supplies. The time investment was definitely worth it though - because now I don’t feel like I’m already starting out my day behind. It feels more like each day is a fresh start to really dig into my work and accomplish my goals.
Me: How do you manage the space when you get busy?
N: I am also realizing that unless something makes it into my planner or onto my calendar realistically it isn’t getting done. I just do not remember things that are not written down. So if you are distractible, anxious or forgetful like me, it can be helpful to schedule a time, maybe only 15 minutes, during the week to tidy up your space and reorganize yourself.
Me: What tips do you want to share that can help others keep their work areas feeling like a space they actually want to work in?
N: It is easy to overlook things like lighting, sounds, scents in our workspaces. When I think back, I did the same thing in my 3rd grade classroom. I opened the blinds, turned off overhead lights whenever possible, played classical music for my students while they were silently working and scheduled in time for them to tidy their desks and spaces. My advice is to take a moment to consider what lighting helps you be most productive, what scent reinvigorates you or calms you, what music or sounds (if any) help you focus, and what is the best configuration of your belongings on your desk for efficiency.