During the many years I’ve helped people design, set up and organize home offices, I’ve seen home offices that were disaster areas and others that needed only a bit of fine-tuning. What the owners of these home offices had in common was that they were fighting their natural working style.
Everyone works differently and has different working styles, depending upon the time of day and the activity. Consider this: if you’re busy, you don’t think about putting things away. After your project is over and your office is a disaster, you may think about getting organized.
When you take the time to set up your office to fit your working style, it’s easier to maintain it. Take a close look at these five working styles to see if any of these sound familiar.
A Bouncing Ball bounces from project to project, but has trouble completing any of them. This active person wants to accomplish everything, yet has trouble focusing on one thing at a time. (I know because I tend to be a Bouncing Ball at times.)
Solution: Use some type of to-do list (paper-based, in your smartphone or on your computer) to keep you on track and focused.
On the surface, A Nit Picky (or perfectionist) looks organized, but isn’t. He or she is so focused on doing everything perfectly, that nothing gets accomplished.
Solution: One of the ways to avoid being a Nit Picky is to have realistic standards and attainable goals, and know that you can’t do everything perfectly.
A Teeter Totter has trouble making decisions because he or she is afraid that any decision is the wrong one. Fear definitely can have a paralyzing effect on decisions.
Solution: When making decisions, build in contingency plans. When you start a project, make decisions and follow through. If things aren’t going as planned, change direction and then move forward.
The Ima Mess keeps things “just in case” or because he or she “may need it someday.” The problem is being able to find what you need, when you need it. That can be challenging.
Solution: If you’re keeping something that doesn’t have a specific purpose, recycle it or donate it. Weed through your files and get rid of anything you know you’ll never refer to again. Add drawer dividers within drawers you use often to make it easy to see and find what you need.
A Lookout follows the out-of-sight, out-of-mind philosophy and fears putting anything away. You can tell someone is a Lookout by the piles of paper on the desk, office supplies stored on open shelves and magazines stacked on the floor as a reminder to read them.
Which working style describes you?