I’m taking it lightly this month as I apply the formal foundational ITIL workflows I learn to my office renovation project. I have big plans for this space; that’s why it’s called “Zeal.” Within Zeal, I imagine taking on most any project with ease. Having the physical space is key. If I want to, say, completely alphabetize and catalog my CD collection, I need to be organized, unless I want duplicates, wasted time, and clutter.
Last week, I turned these casual updates for improving my home office, “Zeal,” into a minor Project Management case study. I started a Gantt chart, which isn’t interesting enough to display yet, and I began thinking about this renovation project from more of a technical viewpoint. This week’s goal was to set up a temporary shelf to tackle some clutter. Halfway through this activity, however, I identified a reclining pain point, preventing previously planned progress…
Cluttered items might lose their potential value because they can’t be properly used. Unorganized clutter caused a folding table in my office, “Zeal,” to lose its value as a temporary desk. A future phase of this office renovation project requires that table’s old space, and since one early idea I had for Better Zombie was to invite collaborators to jam on works such as artists to create short stories, now, Zeal has that collaboration space!
The renovation focus for my hyperfunctional office, dubbed “Zeal,” is about shining light on hindrances. This renovation project has enabled me to jump from “aha moments” to production quicker each week. Since each writing upload on this website relies on visual elements to punctuate my thoughts, lighting accidentally became a hindrance if I wanted to photograph something in my lightbox. Now I can quickly photograph a thought, then focus on writing, without trivial photographic distractions.
I’m refining this organizational theory for completing tasks. Inspired by highways, warehouse shipping/receiving, the human body, and other data processing systems, this workflow has only three sections: “incoming,” “processing,” and “outbound.” When all aspects are working correctly, things flow smoothly. Otherwise, if one aspect isn’t working correctly, things build up. I’ve been successfully using this system to tackle my own hoarding tendencies, so let’s explore the specifics of this component of my “Zeal” office renovation.
I’ve worked in some neat areas throughout my career. One coveted window desk overlooked downtown, another overlooked nature, and I’ve even had my own office. I’ve also set up thousands of workstations over the years, adjusting based on technology, ergonomics or preference, so I generally know what works well for me. Let’s walk through how I made strides this week toward turning my “Zeal” space into my ideal office, as inspiration for working on yours!
In recent weeks I’ve celebrated solving organizational situations within my office, “Zeal,” so let’s brainstorm possible resolutions to a conflict actively prevented progress in my organizational process. I grew up with the impression that notes and the paper they were written on were sacred, as though looking at a scrap piece of paper with some inconsequential ideas would recall memories, which has resulted in stacks of papers. Is the solution to simply recycle them all?
Sweeping, like editing, is a hidden necessity. I may sometimes write a document without reading through the entire document once more to refine word choices, omit redundant phrases, increase the punchiness, while decreasing the ambiguity. Perhaps it’s carelessness? I may similarly pass through a room without cleaning the meeting points between vertical and horizontal surfaces. Perhaps also carelessness? Let’s muse on how the art of cleaning can augment the act of writing with one word:
Clutter kills creativity. When you’re working on any project, your momentum can easily be distracted by the time you spent looking for a tool or that note you took. I have a constant need for things to occupy certain spaces – it’s compulsive really – so curbing the clutter on my couch counter should cut down on distraction. This is my primary writing area, after all. I can then apply this mindset to other clutter prone areas.
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.