As the social media manager here at MyCorporation (oh hey there readers, I’m the one who works at keeping the blog updated every week, nice to meet ya!) I recently had a problem at my desk. I really like Post It notes and use them on a daily basis to keep myself reminded of what I need to do. For a couple of months, it was Post It city all over my desk. Pinned on the corkboard, taped next to my laptop, stacked into a pile when I finished a certain task. But then they started to trail down from my business card box to my tape and staplers, to my cup, and finally all the way down next to my computer. In some cases, they found their way on my computer screen. Post Its everywhere.
It wasn’t just Post Its though. I had pins, pens, Sharpies, and paper clips holding papers together everywhere. For someone who is known for being pretty neat and tidy, it was a weird transformation. So much paper. If you didn’t see my BlackBerry and iPod jutting out on top of the paper clip box, you’d think it was the 1990s up in here.
On Wednesday, I was working on a blog post when the clutter just overcame me. I’m not sure what spurred it. I think I looked over at my affiliate pile and saw an old one from a month ago still there. On the top. Immediately I stopped what I was doing and in the words of Prince, I decided to go crazy because I had to get through this thing called life. Life in the workplace needs to be organized and pulled together and in my life, it also needs to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to relocate.
For the next couple of hours, I took to my desk. I dusted all of the dusty crevices and tidied up like none other. Old docking stations I didn’t use I unplugged and filed away. Thumb tacks were gathered up and tossed into a bin container. And those Post Its were both thrown out, with the tasks I still needed to work on written up on a larger Post It version. It was feng shui at its finest- the space was now open and airy, with a better, lighter energy flowing through it. Once I finished there, I took organization to internal heights by going through my entire Outlook system and filing everything I had into the proper folder. The end result? I could now see significant chunks of my desk. It’s brown apparently. Okay, it wasn’t that cluttery but still. Having all of my materials filed away and organized to open up the desk allowed me to focus a bit more without being distracted by a tiny piece of Post It hanging off my laptop screen or an elbow landing into a pile of notebooks.
Feng shui itself is the art of spatial arrangement that positions objects to receive a better flow of energy. I’m no expert on the precise balance of yin and yang for achieving pure energy aura in the workplace but here were a few tips I took to cleaning out my clutter.
If You Don’t Need It, Throw It Out
Simple as that. You know the term pack rat? Someone who hoards and hangs onto every single note and paper scrap ever? Highly impractical for millennials to really partake in anymore with our world slowly phasing out paper in favor of Word documents. I use the Post Its because they are small but after you’re done with a task, feel free to toss them out. I imagine the majority of the important information you need is mostly kept in your email inbox- and this rule applies there too. Throw out all old junk mail or emails that you truly do not need anymore. A digital pack rat is still the same as a regular pack rat.
Bring in Some Color and Personality
I make collages. They are my version of framed photographs of loved ones. My loved ones are all editorials from fashion magazines, cut and styled to look like a new kind of advertisement. My collages currently hang in front of my laptop and off to the side is a pile of magazines, fanned out where I and my interns have had articles we’ve written published. I keep them handy in case anyone asks to see some of our published work. I do a similar thing with my business cards.
Some jobs don’t allow for you to jazz up your desk, but the majority of them don’t have a problem with it so long as it work appropriate. Bring along a framed photo of your best friend in a fun frame. Use Post Its in tropical shades and thumb tacks in see-through Day Glo. If you prefer a more nuanced look head in that direction with lighter shades. Bring yourself to work- what you like and what motivates you! Keep business cards at the ready to hand out to clients and if you happen to have them, fan out magazines whenever possible- makes it easier to reach out and pull one free without causing a mess.
If You Know There’s A Mess, Fix It. Now.
Don’t wait on this one. It’s one thing to be messy in the privacy of your own home but at work? You’re representing the company and the brand- step it up and stay on top of your game. If you wait on it, your mess will only grow and garner some unwanted attention from both coworkers and bosses alike. Taking the time to clean up means that you care about the place you work in and want it to look groomed and well put together. Organize everything the way that you would best be able to work with it too- this is not the time to model yourself after the employee of the month. Staying on track and functional are both key at being successful at work- and a line of Post Its like ants won’t help you get there.