How to Create an Actualized Workspace



by Nick Bridwell


Ask most professionals to make a list of the most important factors in their productive day and right at the top, you’ll find: “A Comfortable Workspace”.

The human mind can be annoyingly hierarchal. Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs  and that fun pyramid graphic (fig 1) that basically tells you that you are unlikely to achieve actualization if you don’t have food or a roof over your head. That concept totally applies to a productive work day.

If you sit down at your desk to work on a project and find your beautiful mesquite desktop is covered in layers of paper, three grueling days worth of empty coffee mugs, a novelty day calendar showing a date from three weeks ago, and a sympathy card from when you lost your dog three months ago, you are unlikely to start your mission with a clear head. You won’t be able to actualize your work, because the roof overhead is crumbling!

Looking for an easy solution?

In the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,  author Marie Kondo makes two points that really stand out. I know this, because my wife has been chasing me around the house saying, “Remember what Marie said about…”

1. Only keep what brings you joy.

So, that sympathy card for when you lost dear old Uggy the Pug? That’s only reminding you of a painful moment. Trash it. Oh, and last year’s Pictures of Paris, France calendar was awesome and you loved it. This year, your sister decided to get you Pictures of Paris Hilton and it’s just not that funny. Trash it, too!

2.Have a Place for Everything

This one makes so much sense that it’s hard to understand why it never clicked. It’s so much easier to pick up after yourself if you know where everything is goes.

Make sure you have places to stash your day-to-day folders and documents. That probably means clearing out a drawer or two. Oh, and clean off a shelf for those mugs, too!

Now, your work space is clean and the first thing you think of when you sit down is “What awesome work can I do today?”

Organization is pretty easy as long as you don’t mind getting rid of stuff you don’t like in the first place and finding a spot or two for the stuff you do.

Nick Bridwell is the author of the novel The Ties That Bind and a frequent contributor to the Saddleback Blog and Plano Magazine.