Tidy Space, Tidy Mind

In this chapter, we'll talk about:

  • the benefits of keeping your workspace tidy

  • working from home and creating a clear divide

  • + three writing prompts.

OUR ENVIRONMENT—SPECIFICALLY OUR DAILY WORK-LIFE SURROUNDINGS—CAN HAVE a huge effect on not only our productivity (and motivation to be productive), but on our creativity, and how well we use our imagination. There is a lot to be said for a clean, tidy and organised workspace, and the sense of accomplishment and pride we inherit alongside related tasks. The phrase 'tidy house, tidy mind' has merit when we consider how mess creates chaos, anxiety and for some, embarrassment. Or, how having everything in its place and a completed list of chores can be refreshing, leaving room for self-care, time to work on a project which needs our full attention, time with family, or simply to be creative.

Our working environment, especially if we work from a home office (dining room or kitchen table included!), is important—you're struggling to separate working from relaxing/personal spaces, and is it any wonder? Remaining in that same environment under the same conditions makes it easier to 'bring work home with us' if we are never truly away from the reminder of its responsibilities or day-to-day equipment. When we re-purpose a desk each day, are we giving enough thought to how this fuels stress?

Understandably, we may not feel inspired or creative enough to write in your journal when we do eventually sit to empty our mind. Will you be in the right mindset to vent about work problems whilst sitting at your 'office chair' if it also where you eat dinner with your family?

So, to create a clear divide between work and personal spaces, there are a few things we can do.

KEEPING A CLEAR DESK POLICY, WHEREBY ANYTHING WORK-RELATED IS immediately filed or hidden from view in a draw or a cupboard (that doesn't share a space with personal items) is wise. Before using that space for anything else, remove evidence that it was once your workplace, then focus solely on its new purpose. This may be your kitchen table, library or conservatory, for example.

When your workspace is free of office-related clutter, those who prefer to work surrounded by photographs and trinkets are free to decorate appropriately. Make this a space you want to show up at—you should enjoy being there, even when working. Try candles or wax burners, small framed photographs, an ornament, a personalised calendar, a plant or a quirky or pretty coaster. And, if you have access to a wall-mounted notice board or magnetized whiteboard, you can pin photographs and your calendar higher to create additional space. Have things in your eyeline you truly love to look at and that make you feel happy, calm or excited.

Clean your space regularly of dust and crumbs. Tap your keyboard to shake out particles, wipe your mouse and screen, and adjust your blinds or curtains to limit glare. Natural light is always more inspiring, so if you can sit somewhere with a view of the garden or the street, you can benefit from sunlight and fresh air.

We may be tempted to jump from a work project to a personal project without moving or adjusting our environment, which prevents us from switching mindset. Before you set up the space for the new task, walk away and experience another room or, preferably, the outdoors for 15-20 minutes. On return to the space, follow the tips above to create a suitable, comfortable environment that best meets this new role's requirements. Switch up your technology or equipment, tidy away paperwork, adjust your chair and, if it helps, change your clothing.

A tidy space equals a tidy mind, and it's up to us to design and craft that space to align with our personalities and our routines.

Open Your Journal

Turn to a blank page in your notebook to answer the following questions:

  • Before you clean your workspace, write about how you're feeling and what you're thinking. Are you motivated? Are you inspired?

  • Sit in your home office/workspace and evaluate your surroundings. Write down what currently sits on your desk or within reach. Now make a list of 5+ items you can remove or re-home, and 3 items you can add to make the space more enjoyable. Overall, the goal is to reduce clutter and allow only essentials to remain—which items can you sacrifice to achieve this?

  • Give your workspace a thorough clean. Now write about how you're feeling and what you're thinking. Do you feel better, more creative? If so, build this activity into your weekly schedule; allocate time to dedicate to your environment.

Need a journal?

GBG Blank Journal Page

GBG Blank Journal Page
Download PDF • 477KB

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