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Tales from the Home Office: The Uncluttering

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Avatar for nenen30
Written by   125
5 months ago

Pre-quarantine, my chaotic schedule was kind of helpful. I just did whatever I was supposed to do at any given time and place so that things got done, ideally somewhere around the time that they were supposed to. This schedule involved frantically running around, writing papers in strange places at strange hours, and frequently checking Google Calendar. The challenge of showing up in the right places at the right times and keeping deadlines straight meant that I never really had much choice in terms of where my work happened.

Now, there is only one right place to be. That has been a bigger adjustment than I thought it would be.

Within the first few days of working from home, it became clear that I had underestimated the influence of my physical environment on my personal productivity. In the everyday scramble of my usual life, my house had become something of a chaotic repository for project detritus, meaning that my home workspace was pretty much a mess. All of my necessary materials were accounted for, but having all of it around all of the time made it impossible for me to focus on any one thing for very long at all. Not to mention the considerable distractions of checking the news, trying not to check the news, googling “dry cough,” and having one-sided conversations with my lovely dog.

So I resolved to purposefully create a space that would facilitate focus through a process I dubbed The Uncluttering. See below for a picture of what my workspace looked like at the beginning.

I wish that I could say that I put everything away in a carefully considered location. I didn’t. I just put it all on a different table.

That’s O.K. though. All that I really needed to do was clear out one space where I could concentrate on one thing at a time. Once my specialized focus table™ was cleared, I made one strategic decision: to sit on the opposite side, facing the window instead of the (still-cluttered) room. I shamelessly lifted this idea from a number of clickbaity articles about the role of natural light in crafting the perfect work-from-home environment that I would have scoffed at until pretty recently. I’m no longer scoffing.

Now all I had to do was pick which project to focus on and bring it to the table. One strategy that I borrowed from my work at the Writing Center was to divide my working time into hour-long increments that include 10 minute breaks at the end of each hour. So, at the top of the hour, I decide which project to work on and bring it to the table. And so far, as long as I stick to this model, I have been able to direct and maintain my focus much more effectively.

One last thing: this particular strategy helped me this time, but everyone’s different, and our needs vary depending on circumstance. Normally, I would be the first to claim that a little bit of clutter isn’t such a big deal and that it can even lend inspiration. And I still believe that to some degree. But we are living in abnormal times. Acknowledging that fact was the first step towards taking a step back to think critically about why I was having a hard time and what I could do to make things easier on myself. That process of self-reflection has value no matter how cluttered my workspace becomes, and it’s something that I plan to engage in even after we return to “normal.”

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Written by   125
5 months ago
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Comments

I'm so guitly hoarding stuff😅. Buy I'm slowly getting rid of them. It's so hard though , but I'm doing it slowly.🙂 And its feel so good in end when you see a clutter free and minimal space❤. Thank you also for sharing, goodmorning nenen.

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5 months ago

hi friend Good Evening. How's your day? I justwant you to know that i am one who are inspired on your articles. Please continue on writing.

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5 months ago

thank you very much dear...i will do better....by the way good night..

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5 months ago

Lockdown is all about staying busy at home

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5 months ago

yeah.. exactly..thanks dear

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5 months ago

Ur article inspired me so much. In these pandemic days i feel so bor... I am trying to keep myself busy.

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5 months ago

thanks a lot dear... stay home and stay safe..

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5 months ago

Have a nice day my friend.

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5 months ago

same to you friend... stay safe always.

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5 months ago

Thank you for always reading my articles.

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5 months ago

Good morning my dear friend. Thank you for another inspiring article. Have a nice day.

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5 months ago

and thanks to you my dear friend for your valuable comments..have a blessed day.

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5 months ago

Another inspiring article. Good morning friend. Have a nice day.

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5 months ago

thank you dear .. good morning too...have a beautiful day..and keep safe

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5 months ago