It’s 2022 and it looks like working from home is here to stay. Two years on from the start of the pandemic and we’re seemingly as far off returning to pre-Covid normality as we were in March 2020. And with the threat of new variants for the foreseeable it is clear that WFH is the new normal.
We may not all have book-lined libraries or leather-bound partners desks, but whether we’re working from the kitchen table or a custom-built study, the problem of organising our home office plagues us all. Fortunately, the Gentleman’s Journal is on hand to offer some pain-free organisational solutions, with a little help from some of the experts.
Don’t overcomplicate things with intricate systems
It’s a noble ambition to have files for every category under the sun, but whether you’re on Outlook or using a good old-fashioned filing cabinet, do you really need a folder for that one exchange with a door-to-door salesman from the early 2000s?
Vicky Silverthorn, founder of London-based professional organisation service You need a Vicky, thinks not. “People believe that intricate filing systems equal being organised, but actually it can be a complete block to productivity if you’re constantly filing every scrap of paper in different files.” Vicky recommends using a Bisley multi-drawer filing cabinet to keep all your papers in good order.
Implement a clear desk policy
As the old adage goes, ‘Tidy desk, tidy mind’. Putting in practice a clear desk policy at the end of each day ensures you start each day afresh. Even simply putting papers in to three piles (‘urgent’, ‘to do’ and ‘to file’) will help you kick start the next day with a clear mind and a sense of purpose.
Have a place for every single item to live that would otherwise be cluttering your desk, suggests Vicky; “be aware that every item in your vision can be an unwelcome distraction”. Smythson do a range of beautifully crafted leather desk accessories including pen pots, paper trays and letter racks, all designed to make your life easier.
Don’t get your wires crossed
Bouncing into the home office after breakfast, you jump in to your desk chair and pull up ready to get on with the day. Then you realise that your foot is caught up in the tangle of wires under the desk. As you try to de-tangle you accidentally pull too hard and you disconnect your desktop from the mains.
Now you’ve got to get under the desk to reconnect it, and then wait while the whole system reboots. We’ve all been there; tangles of wires for everything from laptops and printers to shredders and desk lamps can be the devil incarnate for the more OCD-inclined.
Mercifully, organisational guru Marie Kondo is at hand with some solutions. Cable tying the wires together is a quick and easy fix, but rather binds you (forgive the pun) to the desk as you then can’t easily move equipment around. An alternative is the KonMari Tidy Tech Kit, a zip up pack with designated spaces for all your electronic items.
Understand the benefits of being organised
Tidying might seem a hassle, but the benefits of doing so can be incalculable. A tidy home office not only looks great, but is also key to reducing stress and ultimately could help you to spend less time at your desk each day.
Sue Spencer, a KonMari consultant offering decluttering services in Surrey, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, believes it is really important for us to understand the benefits of organisation; “Clutter has been shown to increase cortisol (stress) levels – having a messy environment can really impact how we feel”.
A tidy desk can improve your productivity as clear desks have been proven to improve your ability to focus – your brain processes things more quickly if it has fewer things to worry about. If you feel overwhelmed by clutter on your desk you are more likely to procrastinate as it’s more difficult to quickly find the things you need, so tidying up can also improve your efficiency at work.
Organise according to how often you use things
Productivity and organisation expert Lizzie Grant encourages a clear desk policy, but acknowledges that it’s not always convenient to put everything away.
She recommends only keeping those items that you use on a daily basis on the desk top; “If you have a lot of items that you need but you’re not using that regularly, it’s worth investing in drawers to go under your desk or a storage box where you can store these things and keep them nearby. It’s fine to have a few personal, decorative things on your desk if they make you feel good but it’s easy for that to get out of control.”
Want to stock your desk with the finest accessories? These are the desktop accessories every gentleman should have in his home office…
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