I believe that the maintenance of home or office organizing projects is similar to the work that constantly needs to be done in the garden. I looked outside my patio doors the other day and was astonished to see that seemingly overnight my plants had taken on a life of their own. Not only did they cry out for attention, the patio itself had a collection of plant debris that I swear to you was not there just a minute before. I am reminded of my mother's lament while I was growing up: "When did you outgrow this?" Children, like weeds, shoot up overnight. So do papers, clothing and all manner of possessions.
Recently I sat down at my computer to work and noticed a new wrinkle in the landscape of my office. As you may know from reading my book The Zen of Organizing, the completion of the book's manuscript made me reorganize my office. Two years later, I found myself immersed in the process of getting my book out into the world. The professional organizer who had become an author was now into book fulfillment and PR.
My office is tiny and the space is maxed out in terms of furniture. I had to put this problem into my mental computer for a few days. Doing that allows the solution to materialize as a result of all the accumulated work you have done. This process isn't magical, and you certainly don't have to be a professional organizer to succeed. Remember that getting organized means learning a new skill. Decisions and solutions come more rapidly over time with experience.
Here is what I did to transform my office and successfully accommodate new demands:
- I had tucked a two-drawer file cabinet into the closet in this room. I used the top drawer for archival files, and the bottom was storing of my class supplies. I realized that I would never use the so-called archival files again and tossed them. I also realized it really isn't necessary to store class supplies, as my assistant can buy them about a week before class.
- As you enter my office, my desk sits along the center of the right-hand wall. I face the door, can look out the window and am in the creativity area of the room. It is a powerful location according to feng shui, one that supports my work. But having to get at information in a closet is not very powerful. I needed to move the file cabinet out of the closet.
- Looking into the room from the entrance, you see a window in the center of the wall you face. I had two two-drawer file cabinets there festooned with candles and plants. In feng shui this is the area for fame and reputation. The color is red and the element is fire. My decorative items were chosen to enhance my efforts to bring my book to the attention of the world. I decided to place the third cabinet there as well and dedicate it to book fulfillment records and supplies.
- I now had a hole in the closet where I stored office supplies. I bought an inexpensive unit with shelves and now had additional storage for general office supplies.
It took one trip to the store and a few hours one afternoon to make the changes. The rewards were great.
You want your office to be the place where you work in peace and calm. Take a break now and look at the work area you have established for yourself. Does it support your best efforts or act as a saboteur? Why not take the time to create a space that will help you fulfill your dreams? The world is waiting for the gifts you came to share.