Preparing to Work

Now that you’ve gotten a handle on what you want to do and how you plan to do it what do you need to do to get ready to work?  Do you have a work space that is conducive to being productive?

Too often in corporate settings you have little control over your works space, you are assigned an office or a cubicle to work in and how it is set up is outside of your control.  I’ve had so many different work spaces it’s almost mind boggling.  However one thing is true no matter where you spend your day, you need to make it work for you within the constraints of your space.  What can you do?


First key to being productive is to have what you need within easy reach.  Keep the files you need close by.  If you need to roll to get what you need or to put it away you will not get started or you will let it pile it up.  Have the other tools you need close by as well, things like staplers, paper clips, pens, note pads etc. in a specific place that is easy reach.  To manage your paperwork; have your file cabinet organized in a way that works for you and have new folders on hand to make filing easy.

The key is to keep the things you need within easy reach and in a dedicated spot.  Keep the minimum number of each you need to be efficient.  Keeping too much is overkill and requires more space to store, so have extras nearby and only what you need close.


Once you get things organized you need to maintain the area.  This means filing paperwork right away, clearing your inbox daily, removing clutter and putting things back where they belong when you are done.  If you get in the habit of returning things to their place it allows you to have a clean slate when you start the next task.


As you organize your area, no matter how big or how small, arrange items in a way that is nature to you.  I find that I like having my desk phone to the right of my computer screen, not sure why, but it is most comfortable for me, so that’s where I always put it.  Think about where you natural reach for things, what makes sense for you is the logical arrangement of your desk items.  Your inbox should be where you will see it and be able to act on items smoothly and efficiently.

Spatial Cues

Everyone has a primary mode of processing information; they are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.  If you are visual you will be very inclined to have a very clean desk, neat and orderly files, with everything in its place.  If you are auditory your space will be centered on the verbal communications, your phone will be a key tool and you will have a way for people to feel welcome coming to talk to you.  If you are kinesthetic you will have any area that will be very chaotic to the other two types and will be focused on physically doing things.  Often you will have piles of paperwork and files within easy reach because you want to be able to grab what you need.

No matter what your style is having things clean and organized will be the driver to improved productivity.  Filing systems need to address the spatial cues of your predominate type.  Location and format of your to-do list and calendar must also best suit your needs.  Take the time to consider what it is that works for you, do you need to see, hear or touch what needs to be done next.

Getting a plan and setting goals are necessary to being productive.  It is also vital to have a work space that is conducive to letting you work efficiently and effectively.

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