Well here we find ourselves between holidays; The Children Going Back to School and Halloween. So with no closets to clean out and no decorations to put out yet, let’s work on the office! The home office or the cube at work; both apply. The office is your work domain; where the flow (should) happen. Whether it’s client accounts and bosses or paying bills and working on the grocery list and menu, this is where it happens. Where you feel a sense of accomplishment and immediate results, however small. So keep it free of clutter. Clutter can go somewhere else (until you have time to put it all away) but not on the desk. Just because the desk is central and a hopefully empty, flat surface, it is not where all purses, coupons, socks, cameras, recyclables, dog bones, papers-to-be-shredded, bird feathers, candle jars and grocery bags should be lain. I mention this vast list because these are some of the fantastic things that I have found on my clients’ workspaces in their homes or in their offices. They are sometimes embarrassed and I am sometimes shocked.
‘Have a credenza or upper shelf in your workspace? Great. Use it for décor, framed pictures, books and other references. Unless you have an enormous desk, there is probably no room for such things in your workspace. Your workspace should have: your computer monitor, a place right in front to write where your elbow can rest on the surface as well (to prevent fatigue and keep your handwriting legible,) a few office supplies like pens, stapler and paper clips, (unless you have a drawer) and a printer (again if there is space.)
Notice I didn’t mention the keyboard. Please please get a keyboard tray and have some nice, young man install it for you beneath your workspace so that it is not on your desk. Unless you are working on a solid granite surface, this shouldn’t be too hard to install. Keyboard trays are cheap, and are worth their weight in gold for how it saves your neck, shoulders and arms from fatigue, tightness, soreness and cramping that only a good massage therapist can eliminate. After several visits. Just get a keyboard tray. Yes, your forearms should be parallel with the floor, but that isn’t always possible with chair and people height, and of course the height of the desk. If you have to err, err on the side of a lower than elbow keyboard tray position. One that sits higher than your elbows when you work will cause you to subconsciously raise your arms with your shoulder and neck muscles, which causes an almost immediate pain in your levators. (Look it up, it’s the thick, usually tense muscle that makes up the bulk of one’s shoulders.)
Lastly, keep a file cabinet at arm’s reach if at all possible. Papers just don’t get filed if it is too inconvenient. Keep files for everything. One for each insurance, one for each family member, one for bills, for taxes, owner’s manuals, and an etc. file. I’ll leave you to these first few steps to a cleaner office, and the light is just there at the end of the tunnel. See it?