We need more than our computer, phone and papers to do our work. Other tools are important too, such as scissors, pens, markers, paper-clips, hole-puncher, USB-sticks, books, cheat-sheets, staplers, paper cutter, packing tape, paper cutting scalpel, red highlighter, stamp, business cards, chargers, adapters, battery charger, laser pointer, whiteboard markers, pointing stick, brochures, ruler, and so on.
When we need it, we want it to be available — instantly. We want to finish the task we are currently working on without being obstructed in any way. But, sometimes the tool we need is not where we expected it to be and our flow is interrupted.
If you currently spend more time than you would like looking for things, if you just had to buy a new something (even though you know the old one is around somewhere), if you feel that your tools and office supplies tend to ”grow legs of their own” and wander out of your office too often, then you will be able to make your life just a little easier by simple means.
Each thing in its place
Designate one place for every item and let every item have its own place. This way you know where to look for it, since it was apparent where you should return it to the last time you used it. It will be easy to determine if it is in its place or not, and you will therefore be able to search for it if it should still disappear well ahead of that moment when you need it right away.
So what then constitutes a good place? It is preferably somewhere where you only keep that one item or at least where it is not surrounded by too many other things. Try not to use drawers labeled ”Miscellaneous”. Instead you could for instance use a box for every item, a box in a box, a rack of some kind, a shelf, or a compartment. You could also hang the item on the wall, screw it to the shelf, or attach it to the drawer unit with velcro. To fasten things to the wall, you could for instance use cable nails, cable ties, screw hooks, superglue and the new ceramic material Sugru which seems to have exciting properties.
It is also a good idea to label the place with what is supposed to be there, thus making it easier to remember what goes where.
- Look around you where you are currently sitting (assuming you are sitting in your office).
- Choose one thing which you will designate to a single location. If you do not know what to pick, then choose your stapler.
- Think about how easily accessible you want it to be, that is, how often you use it.
- if you use it several times a day you might want to keep it at arm’s length (or perhaps you want it a bit further away, hence forcing yourself to get up from your chair and getting to stretch for a moment when reaching for it).
- if you do not use it often, you will be wise to place it out of sight. The fewer things you have within view, the less distracted you will be.
- Now choose an appropriate place which from now is in the place where the item is located whenever you are not using it.
Either do what needs to be done to label the new place with what it will contain from now on right away, or create a to-do-task which dictates what you need to do later about it. Perhaps you need to buy something or get something from someone else before you can label the place.
Find quickly and find peace faster
If you make sure that you have a place for every item and every item has a place, you will have more time for what truly matters since you do not have to waste time looking for things. You maintain your high mood and no longer get frustrated by not being able to locate what you need when you need it.