Confession: I've had a hard time writing lately. It's challenging to know what's helpful, tone-deaf, encouraging, Pollyanna-ish…you get my drift.
Another confession: Over the past several weeks I've bounced between being incredibly productive and completely lethargic. Over and over. I'm like a Roomba - either motoring around doing my job or stuck spinning in circles.
But in this wild time, I've come to appreciate again just how much my home office space supports me - or holds me back. Aha. Now there might be a topic. Not so much the home office angle - there have been plenty of articles and posts about productive Work-From-Home setups already. But instead, how can a space encourage you to do the things that make you, you?
I'm reasonably sure we're all aware that a well-ordered space makes life easier, that we love looking at those attractive, organized closets and shelves online…and dreaming. But what needs to be taken into consideration in a space to help you express yourself, to support your unique brand of success? My office setup is usually ideal for me - it's been helping me to get through the pandemic challenges in lots of little, but effective ways. Small desk (yet another confession: I actually hate sitting at a desk), couch (with lots of pillows), my bookshelves (full), my plant (Edmund), my favorite prints and photos on the walls. It makes sense for both who I am and how I need to work right now. When I let the irrelevant paperwork pile up, or the books get out of whack, I notice more than ever how unsettled and unproductive it makes me feel*. If I can't settle in quickly for a Zoom meeting or to write, I know it's at least partially due to how the room is working, or not working. Would my office be a perfect setup for you? I doubt it.
One of the questions I ask clients when they are wrestling with what to do with an object is: "Does this ______(bowl, receipt, extension cord, whatever) help you to be successful?"
suc·cess (from dictionary.com)
So, taking it one step further: "Does this particular space help you to be successful?" Is it helping you make progress, or making things easier for you? If not, the next step is figuring out what would make the difference. Not just getting rid of clutter, but considering arrangement, colors, tools, lighting - everything that can make a space, and you, progress.
And so on. It's an obvious but under-appreciated fact that when we look at disorganized spaces, we're frequently focused on how awful they make us feel. If we can see past that overwhelm to what kind of supportive environment is possible, maybe even see the organization as an act of creativity in and of itself, it spurs the process on. It doesn't necessarily make the organizing and decluttering go faster (sorry), but deciding and choosing with your positive, progress-oriented outlook in mind can change the whole tone. When I've been stuck lately, if I have the presence of mind to do a little clearing, I start moving again. Before I started this post, I cleaned out a drawer and shredded some paper. I've witnessed it repeatedly - when a room is working correctly for its owner, all sorts of new and positive things open up for them.
*I do not own an "autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner", but I noted with interest in doing my research that what often causes them to spin in circles is, unsurprisingly, debris and/or obstructions.
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, dog-lover, author. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?