I’m coupling my Weekly Rowing column with workspace infrastructure updates. My primary focus will be improving my “judgement free zone” office I’m calling “Zeal,” because just like how exercise improves your internal motivation and physicality, tidy workspaces improve your external motivation and productivity. Clutter in body, mind, or space can prevent action, so let’s start with the heartbeat of this whole operation: my whiteboard. “Always on,” it’s a constant reminder to check the next box.
Identifying Problem Areas
The whiteboard is split off into three parts. The first part, some of which is photographed above, is my daily schedule at a week’s glance. The second part is a major project that requires many intricate tasks to complete, starting with reclaiming my office desk from clutter and renovating it in a unique way. The third part is a collection of smaller projects that tangentially contribute to the major project or make my life smoother.
Taking Out Trash
I learned the value of 5S (seiri- sort, seiton- set in order, seiso- shine, seiketsu- standardize, and shitsuke- sustain) from one gig where I was the sole person in the building representing my department. Everything under my umbrella was chaotic so I started with the junk. I threw out moldy coffee, recycled cardboard, and untangled messes. Eliminating these obstacles led me toward getting my workspaces more organized, so that’s what I did this past week.
Combine Like Objects
You should ideally have one main area for every type of thing. I’ve been disorganized with my CD collection lately. I filed some in separate areas due to space restrictions, leading to needless clutter, even though I’m now more careful about collecting CDs. I’m more serious now about sell or donating seldom-heard albums so I’ll begin annexing those CDs from the main collection. I can also use this organizational pattern for other areas or collections.
Slow and Steady
I get overwhelmed if I make too many changes too quickly. For one, I might become too satisfied with any fast progress I’ve made and then idle for a few weeks, not to mention that it can take my mind some time to acclimatize to changes in an otherwise stagnant workspace. So it’s better for me if I slowly chisel away at the broadest pieces first, before getting into specific chunks, at a comfortable pace.
Celebrate All Progress
My whiteboard needs to be flexible, since I’ll clean it off every week, so I’m documenting any progress I’ve made in a positivity notebook. Anything from making my bed to rowing. This first in a series of notebooks will help me externalize my internal motivations. If I’m feeling down, even holding them could remind me that I’ve done some things well, otherwise it’s a constant reminder to keep at it. Fill that page with positivity!
The Plans Ahead
I overanalyze partially because my work ethic works best in sequential order. I’ll work on crossing off each item off the list, in order, then I’ll return next week with my progress.