QuickTip: Create A Designated Work Area

I had planned to post an article on another subject today, but was coaching a client this morning and we ended up focusing on QuietSpacing(tm)’s Designated Work Area recommendation.  It’s such a simple but vital component to regaining command of our working environments that I decided to forgo the original topic for today and focus on this one instead. 

The concept is very simple:  Pick one identifiable area that you can define as your Designated Work Area.  It must be physically definable, such as the four corners of your desk (versus a small space on your desk).  This area must be kept devoid of ALL things except the occasional picture of the family or other such items (read: one or two total) . If possible, remove your computer monitor and phone from this area and, if also possible, place them so they are not even peripherally visble from your Designated Work Area.

Once established, your Designated Work Area must remain sacrosanct.  By that I mean that only One Thing At A Time may be placed there.  Keeping it devoid of distractions – other files, the computer monitor, the flashing voice mail indicator, etc. – means you will focus more readily and for longer periods of time on the work at hand.  Increasing your focus will increase your productivity, which will increase both your effectiveness and your efficiency.

When you have accomplished what you can on that particular item, move it away from the Designated Work Area and place the next item there.  Repeat as much as you need to or can within any given time period.  Of course, you can shift your attention to the computer or your phone as necessary, but don’t ping pong back and forth.  Make each attention shift intentional.

Note: If your work is exclusively (or nearly exclusively) on the computer, you can create a Designated Work Area by using full screen windows of each application you use.  That way, you are only focusing on one screen/task at a time.

As a bang-for-your-buck item, the Designated Work Area pays both immediate and visceral dividends.  You will instantly notice an increase in focus because there is only one thing in your field of vision.  This will allow you to dive into the work more readily which increases your effectiveness and makes you feel more accomplished as a result. 

Try this simple trick for increasing your productivity.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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