ProdPod: Episode 80 — Setting Up Your Workspace for Success

Having just finished the ProdPod series on Hoarding, I’ve got workspaces on the mind. And, when it comes to personal productivity, there’s nothing like showing up to your home or work office workspace and seeing it set up just for you. So, in this episode, I’m going to discuss a method for making your workspace work for you every day.

Assess Your Workspace

Organization doesn’t naturally happen. So, the first step is to assess your situation. Do you feel like the way things are set up in your workspace flowing well? Or, do you find there is friction when you try to access your files, when you see clutter or piles of things in particular places in your workspace, or do you trip over a coat hanger when you enter the office every day? These are the things to note that need to change to make your workspace more productive.

Brainstorm and Design Your Ideal Workspace

Now that you know what needs to change, create a new project in your productivity system. Rome nor your workspace was built in a day, so you can’t fix all these minor nuisances or hiccups in your productive flow in a day. Now, what do you physically need to do with each problem you noted? Do you need to call an electrician to move a light switch? Do you need to call a carpenter to put a bookshelf in just the right place for your reference books? Write down or input those actions on your written list or in your task management software or app.

Create Your Workspace Rituals

Finally, one of the most productive moments of your day is setting yourself up for success tomorrow. At the end of every day, I have created a checklist of the things I need to physically do so that I leave my workspace (desk and office) in exactly the way I need it so that I start tomorrow productively. I put away anything I’m not working on or with tomorrow. I clear my computer of any software apps that are running that don’t need to be. And, I make sure to put out the very first thing that I need to work on in the morning (or the next time I’ll be in the office). You can revisit episode 30 where I discussed the End-of-Day Ritual by Peter Bregman.

In addition, I have created Morning and Midday Rituals that help me break my day into productive chunks and makes sure that I’m tidying my workspace, filtering through my RSS feed reader and then purging that inbox at least daily midday, and creating time to process my email inboxes as well as making outbound phone calls to clients, vendors, staff, colleagues and my family.

Once your physical workspace is in order, and you have the morning, midday and end-of-day rituals designed to keep your workspace in tip-top shape, you’ll quickly start to reap the productive rewards of flowing effortlessly through your days. Let me know your successes and challenges by email or in the comments!