I have worked in public education for 18 years, and three years ago I attended a professional development event that focused on decluttering one’s office and working smarter by focusing on the most impactful things at work. Little did I realize just how transformational this would be for me personally and professionally.
One of the first things that I learned was how distracting an office, filled with clutter and personal heirlooms, could be. Besides, do you really want to emulate your home in your office? Your work environment, regardless of its shape or size, is designed for you to produce work in the most efficient way possible. Personal trinkets all over the place will not help you get your work done, but it can certainly distract you and coworkers.
As I began my journey several years ago to declutter my office and eliminate useless paperwork that I had stored digitally anyway, I heard many coworkers say that my office looked “too professional” and didn’t look “homey” at all. Regardless of the varied opinions of my office peers, I was on a mission to give this a try. Several years later, it is in a state that I would consider minimal, or rather streamlined.
My office only contains those items that I need to do my job. Many of my coworkers say my office looks like a conference room, and now I tell that that was my point all along. My office is a space where I meet with people to get essential work done, and now that it is not cluttered, I offer my space to anyone in the office that needs a private meeting space or privacy.
So how has decluttering my office and using minimalism helped? In several important ways:
- My office is easy to clean, looks professional all the time, and can easily be used by anyone when I’m not there. My office projects the image most employers want to see for their organization.
- My focus and efficiency has increased significantly, as I am no longer searching for one thing in a big pile of papers. I have moved my analog, paper existence, to a digital one that I have available to me anywhere I go.
Minimalism spilled over into my personal life once I saw the actual value it afforded me in my professional life.