You may think that you have a lot of self-control over focus, attention, and emotions. However, if you organize your work environment it can have a significant impact on your mental performance. If your office is a mess with papers everywhere, cables roaming free, and spilled coffee, it will take a hit on your productivity and focus. The clutter can be frustrating, but there is a better way.
Knowing the impact of your environment, you can clean up your workspace to motivate you to take action and maximize your productivity. You can get more organized such that all tools and materials are put in an appropriate place. You can redesign your work environment to be clean, organized, and visual using the Japanese organizational system, known as ‘5S,’ which each ‘S’ stands for:
The first step is sort, which means to get rid of all the stuff in our work environment that we don’t need. The extra stuff makes things hard to find and makes it difficult to focus. Thus, you need to separate all the things you need from those things that you use infrequently or have “just in case.” When you sort, you remove the clutter to make it easier to find something you need.
The next step is to set in order or categorize the things from the last step. Go through your items one-by-one, determine the purpose of each thing, and label them if you want. When there are many users in the workspace, labels make it easy for all to find, use, and return it to its correct place. When done correctly, you will be able to find everything you need to work on, find things quickly, and have a designated spot for each item.
The following step is shine, which means to clean your work environment regularly. If you get busy, it is easy to overlook this step. You should maintain cleanliness by vacuuming, wiping, dusting, sweeping, mopping, etc. Also, conduct routine maintenance on tools and equipment to keep tools in working order. When you shine regularly, problems will be easier to detect, tools will last longer, and you will be more motivated to work.
The fourth step is to standardize or put processes in place to regularly sort, set in order, and shine to maintain the workspace. Processes are critical as they allow you and your people to follow a set of procedures to carry out a task consistently and efficiently. When you standardize your processes, you will keep your work environment organized, working, and clean, so you can do your best work and maximize your productivity.
This last step is to sustain or maintain the organization of your work environment that you have established in the previous four steps. Make it a habit of following procedures. Also, look for opportunities to continually improve your workspace and update the processes as needed. Over time, you will be more productive and get more work done.
I hope that you can use the ‘5S’ steps of Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain to get your workspace in order and get more work done as a result. For more in-depth information and examples on organizing your work environment, learn more here.