So, when was the last time you actually cleaned out your office space? If you’re anything like me, I rarely take the time to clean out my office area. Or maybe you’re good at it. Spring is the time for change, transitions and new growth. Often, it is naturally associated with “spring cleaning” around the house, but I don’t see too many people doing it at the office. I know that when I have had to move offices or change jobs, I spent a lot of time going through all my belongings and sometimes even found an old granola bar stuck to the bottom of a file drawer. Yep, I’m owning that one. This year, include your office area and career in your spring cleaning. Declutter and make room for new life; new creativity, opportunity or emotions. Here are some tips on how to make the process more do-able.
Create an action list. Whether you have a grand office area or small cubicle, break your space into small sections. Write down each area that could use some love. File drawers, cabinets, piles, decoration, shelves, bags, desks, surfaces, etc.
Make a plan. Once you have your action list, prioritize. Start with the “easiest” section and build towards the most daunting. By this time, you will have had momentum and your systems down so that it seems less daunting.
Schedule time. Your entire decluttering project could take you one hour or several hours. It may not be possible to get it all truly done in one setting and I find that decluttering can take longer than I think once I start to dive in. Set aside at least one hour a day over a period to tackle your project. Block it off on your calendar so you can’t be scheduled for something else and commit.
Solicit help. Communicate your plan to others in your team. Let your boss know your intention to declutter and organize so that when they walk by, they know why you may be on your hands and knees surrounded by piles of paper. See if anyone else wants to tackle their office space and you can be of support and accountability to one another.
Create a system. You will need something to do with the things you declutter. Get boxes for you to distribute items; recycle, scan and store (then recycle), shredder, folders, donation, keep, bring to another place. Start by taking everything out of the specific section and only put back what is absolutely necessary. Once you have sorted those things, follow through at the end of each session with these tasks to complete the section. When sorting, ask yourself these questions; will I need this in the next 6 months, does this truly serve me, does this align with where I am going? Stay away from motto of keeping something “just in case”. If you are unsure if you need an item for legal or project purposes, ask and find a proper way to store it.
Remove distractions. Put your computer on sleep mode and your phone out of sight. Close your door if you need to. If someone stops by with a task, politely let them know you are in the middle of a project and will get back to them as soon as you are done.
Use a mantra or affirmation. Cleaning out and decluttering can be difficult, monotonous, and sometimes emotional. Focus on your intention of clearing away things that no longer serve you for the future. Honor anything that comes up and state your mantra to help move forward. Examples may be: Let it go; Less is more, I’m creating room for growth, I am clean and organized, I am grounded.
Clean. Remember the granola bar? Take this time to clean dust or spray down your section.
Smudge. Clearing the energy in a space is very important and helps move any stagnation or release energy that was stirred up during your decluttering. Find some sage and burn it around the perimeter of your space. It is recommended that this be done after the entire area has been completed. Also, because others may be sensitive to the smell and smoke, try to do this after hours or when you leave so that others don’t have to sit in the smell all day long. If smudging with sage isn’t possible, try some other non-burning techniques to move the energy around like essential oils or crystals.
Bring in the new. Now that you have decluttered your area, you can intentionally bring in new things such as plants, pictures, books, or files that are directly related to short term and long term goals related to your career.
Repeat. To keep things aflowin’ energy wise and increase organization, try not to wait for spring every year. Maintain a system that works for you on keeping your space decluttered. Help keep me on track with this one too!
Often we feel overwhelmed or stressed at work, it can also because of the physical chaos in our life. This can be true for your job and office. When you walk into your workspace, do you feel inspired or cramped? Decluttering our external environment at work can help us feel less chaos on the inside. It also removes any stagnation and opens your environment and life for new growth. You may not even be aware of what this new growth is until you clean out the old and new light shines through. Who knows, you might even find one your favorite granola bars still in its package!
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