How To Organise Your Workspace

I wanted to share with you some tips about how to organise your workspace. 

Whether that be your home office where you just do a bit of paperwork at home or you work from home, or whether that be the office where you work with other people. 

Having your workspace organised and decluttered can have a huge impact on productivity. 

I know when my desk is cluttered, it’s usually because there’s too much going on in my head and I’m getting a bit disorganised, and it’s all getting a bit on top of me. 

Clearing off my desk is one of the best things I can do to start the day. 

I just wanted to share with you a little bit about my workspace and what I have. 

One of the first things that I suggest is having your desk as clear as you possibly can. So not having lots of stuff all over the place, and keeping it nice and clear. 

That’s the first tip really, a clear desktop it’s absolutely vital. 

One of the things that helps with that, is actually putting things into drawers, putting them away and having that all organised. Not just your pens and your stapler and your post-its and things like that. But also I tend to file a lot of my work in progress. So that goes into a drawer, out of the way, so that it’s not all on my desk. 

A lot of people I know have heaps and heaps of stuff on the desk which they’re working on and actually putting it away just means that as long as you’ve got a system for remembering what you’ve got to do with it, then that’s great. But putting it away clears off that space in front of you. 

Another great tip is to store things vertically not horizontally. On my desk I’ve got two filing little boxes where I store my paperwork vertically. 

Now the problem with storing anything horizontally is that it all piles up on top of each other and you end up with a heap. What usually happens is the stuff at the top gets done but the stuff at the bottom gets left. 

So if you can store things vertically then that really really helps. 

Another tip is to have inspirational quotes and also plants, because these things are lovely, and I can see out the window there, it’s a bit wet. But I’ve got a picture with some friends from a wedding, I’ve got some great quotes, and and they just inspire me. 

I’ve also got a couple of things propped up that I need to remember. So high quality questions and what they are when I want to call somebody. Stuff that I need to bear in mind, that’s in front of me too which is a good reminder. 

I have a second screen which is a great idea because it just means that I can work not just on one little laptop screen, I’ve got a lot of space to work electronically as well as physically. And that has been a great addition to my workspace.

I think that is about it, there’s plenty more tips, so just some ideas to try and help you, and I hope some of them are useful.

Declutter Challenge

I’ve got a bit of a declutter challenge for you. 

This is something I’ve been doing for the last month with a friend of mine. And she suggested it. It was brought to our attention by the minimalists on Twitter, so I’m not taking credit for this one at all! 

I’ve heard about it before but I’ve never done it myself, and I have now, and I want to share with you what it’s about. 

Basically it’s a month-long challenge. 

On the first day of the month, you get rid of one thing. 

On the second day of the month you get rid of two things. 

Third day three things.

Fourth day four things, 

and on you go…

Until you get to the end of a month where you’ve got to get rid of quite a lot of things in a day! 

It’s been brilliant. But it’s also been a real challenge. 

At the beginning of the month it was fine, I was thinking “oh this is easy, this is no problem whatsoever.” 

Now I’m on day 28 and it’s like “Ah okay I’ve got to find all these items” 

But actually it’s not really been a problem, it’s helped me realise that a lot of the stuff in my home I don’t use. I’m noticing more of the things I don’t use and that’s just sitting there. 

One of the biggest areas I tackled was books, and a lot of people have problems with books. When I read a book, I then keep it. I might loan it out to people, but I tend to keep it. 

I looked at all these books that I’d got, and I thought about the ones that were there and I thought “well they’re brilliant, they’re fantastic.” But I couldn’t even remember what it was about. 

The reality for me is that I needed that book at that point in my life. 

And now I’ve read it, it has served its purpose and wouldn’t it be so much better if it went to somebody else now? 

I’m off to a networking event this evening and I’m taking all my books for a book exchange swap, library type thing. So passing it on to other people who need it more than I do. 

But I also realised how much I was holding on to stuff, and a lot of stuff from my past as well. A lot of stuff from childhood. A lot of stuff from when I’ve been on trips to places, and things like that, that I had collected. 

A lot of it was just in boxes, I didn’t use it. 

It was just trying to hold onto those memories.

I’ve let go of a lot of it and just decided to move on a little bit. 

There are some loose rules around it; 

The idea is that you get it out of your house by midnight that night. (Now I haven’t completely adhered to that because I’ve been saving things up to go to the charity shop, and go to the right places.) 

But it is important that you are not taking it back out of the bag again. 

So making sure that you’ve made that decision on that day, so that you’ve consistently got some change going on and that you’re doing it everyday. 

Also not counting things like rubbish. So just throwing some things away, it doesn’t really count. Mouldy vegetables isn’t going to cut it. 

It is about items that you’ve been hanging on to a little bit and about shifting those. 

So make up the rules yourself. 

I think one of the key things for me was doing it with somebody else and having that accountability. So me and my friend doing it together was just brilliant because we could support each other, we could talk to each other about how we felt, and we weren’t on our own doing it. 

Some days we would have both have given up, if we didn’t have to post that picture to each other on WhatsApp going “I’ve done it” So that was huge as well. 

So why not try it? 

Try the declutter challenge, see how you get on.

Letting Go

I often talk about clutter weighing you down, and I just want to share a bit of an experience I’ve been through recently about how I’ve definitely realised that more in my life. 

I have got quite a decluttered house, I’m fairly organised, there’s not too much going on here really, I often clear out, I don’t tend to hang on to things really. 

But one of the things I’ve been doing recently is clearing out some of the more tricky stuff shall I say. It’s the things with memories, emotional attachments, items from my past, from childhood, from previous relationships, from things that I was holding on to. 

I didn’t even really realise I was. 

They were just sort of there, I kind of became a bit blind to them or they were in a box. 

I’ve actually been tackling some of that stuff and it’s been amazing, it’s been absolutely amazing. 

I sat the other night with a box and it had all old cards, letters, exercise books from primary school so much from my life so far. Stuff that I hadn’t really been willing to get rid of before. That I felt I needed for whatever reason, I don’t know why, but I needed to hold on to it. 

And where I’m at at the minute, I just thought actually I need to have a look through this and see whether it’s serving me or not anymore. 

I had a huge clear out, I got rid of a lot of stuff. 

A lot of stuff that actually was great memories, or some of it wasn’t such great memories, but I didn’t need to have it anymore. 

I think that kind of attachment that we can have to keeping that item otherwise we’ll lose the memory, maybe was why I kept some of those things. And actually I don’t need that. 

I firmly believe that the past is great, and it’s fantastic and it’s great to remember all those sorts of things. But I’m not going that way, I’ve been there I’m heading into the future, and I want to see what’s coming next. 

One of the things I felt is the weight lift off me – it was definitely weighing me down. And as that’s lifted, I’ve also felt a new energy in the house, it’s almost like somebody opened a window and this like air going through all of a sudden. 

One of the great things that’s happened is that more things are coming into my life, as I clear out that old stuff, as I let it go, as I kind of go “do you know what I’ll move on from that” 

New opportunities are arising and there’s some amazing things happening at the minute. And I just really feel that the stuff that we have and the attachments we have to it, can just be a burden, it’s like carrying a bag full of rocks sometimes. 

You know and you need to, every now and again, just shed some of those. 

Get rid of them. 

Chuck them out.

See what else comes in. 

So I highly recommend getting rid of some of those rocks.

5 Tips To Start Decluttering

I want to give you five tips about decluttering when you don’t know where to start. 

Many people are overwhelmed, and just can’t see the wood for the trees, and just don’t even know where to begin. So I’m going to tell you five very simple tips for you beginning your decluttering journey. 

The first thing is to sit and ponder.

Take some time, have a conversation if you live with somebody else (if there’s somebody else in your environment) about which are the problem areas? 

Which areas are the worst? 

Which is the place you need to start? 

Which hampers your daily life more than the others? 

It may be that it’s the kitchen that’s just chaos, it might be the living room, and you don’t feel like you can sit there you know. So which is the worst area? 

Talk about it, ponder it, take some time to really think about it. 

The second thing to do is to really visualise what you want that area to look like. 

What do you want it to look like? 

How do you want it to function? 

What are the things that aren’t working? 

Really think about those and what you do want them to work like, because it’s really important that we, as with any goal, need a goal of where to go to, but also know what we’re coming away from. I don’t want this because X and I want it to look like this because Y. 

Really connect with how you want that area to be. 

Thirdly, it’s about breaking it down into small manageable chunks. 

Don’t look at the thing as a big whole, because it’s too big and you can’t start. You don’t know where to begin.

Just break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. 

It might be I need to empty the bin, I need to sort that pile of papers out, I need to empty that drawer. 

But break it down into small manageable chunks. 

The next thing to do, is to actually diarise doing it. 

One of the things that a lot of people do is they think about things for a long time. But it’s the action that’s going to make the difference. So diarise the chunks. That means it’s not one big thing anymore, it’s lots of little things that you’re going to do. But diarise those things. 

And then the last thing is to actually do it. 

Which it sounds ridiculous, but you know, unless we do these things then nothing’s gonna change. If you’ve always do, what you’ve always always done, then you’ll always get, what you’ve always got. 

So you’ve got to do something differently and that’s about committing to it. 

So just to recap, decluttering when you don’t know where to start; 

  1.  Discuss, ponder; What is that’s the problem? Which of the worst areas? Where do you need to focus first? 
  2. Visualise what you want it to look like
  3. Break it down into some small manageable tasks that aren’t going to be so overwhelming
  4. Diarise it, so get it in the diary
  5. Get on and do it. 

Break it down like this and see how you get on. 

I reckon you’ll be okay.

What Is Hoarding Disorder?

I’ve been asked a few times recently what’s hoarding disorder? 

Many people band around the term hoarding when they’re talking about general clutter. They may have seen programs on the TV, and “I’m a bit of a hoarder” is quite a common thing that people say to me when I tell them what I do for my work. 

Hoarding disorder is a mental disorder on its own. It’s classified by the World Health Organisation, it used to be very linked and lumped in with OCD, but it’s actually been recognised as a separate thing. 

Studies show that it can affect between 2 and 5 percent of the population. That’s as many as 1 in 20 people, who could be affected by this disorder. Which would make it one of the biggest mental health disorders that we have. 

It’s very difficult because it’s behind closed doors, people don’t talk about it. You may know people who have serious problems but you would never know about it. It is quite a secretive thing sometimes. And it impacts not only just the person who has the disorder, but the family around them and even neighbours.

So what distinguishes it from just general clutter? 

Hoarding disorder is about when you have excessive acquiring. There’s lots of need to bring things into the home all the time. But then having real difficulty discarding those possessions. So it might be because they are attaching a real emotion to those items and a real worth and a real value to those items that there might not have value to somebody else. 

Many times it’s things that other people consider as waste that people hoard, empty bottles and toilet roll tubes and things like that, which other people might think you know that’s got no value, but to someone with hoarding disorder it has got value. 

The distinction really is that hoarding disorder is when the line is crossed when rooms within the home can’t be used for their intended purposes. So for example somebody might not be able to cook in their kitchen anymore because there’s just too much stuff in there. They might be cooking on a camp stove in the living room, that kind of thing. Or using a microwave somewhere else. Or that they can’t sleep in their bed anymore or wash in their bathroom you know. 

It’s where the levels have got to a point where the rooms can’t be used for their intended purpose. But also it’s affecting the people involved emotionally or socially. There may be a huge isolation because people can’t come around anymore, and if that’s somebody with a disability, then you know that makes them hugely isolated. Things like that. 

So it is a little bit different to having a bit of clutter, so maybe try to be a bit thoughtful before you band round I’m a bit of a hoarder, because it is a real problem that a lot of the population have. And we’re becoming more and more aware of it and getting to know more about it.