Soon after our partnership came to be, we decided we would need an office space, a place where all four of us could toss ideas around and deal with the process from concept to consumer, trend forecasting, designing, choosing fabrics, grading and so much more. We were all excited to go see places even though our new venture was small and we weren’t afforded the joy of a pent house office yet. We did not foresee the most obvious of issues: that all four of us work differently and that putting us all in one place to do different tasks wasn’t the best idea. That first week in the office is the inspiration for this post: Our desk spaces.
I choose to keep my space cleared of distractions, and this even includes the background of my desktop which is, more often than not, plain black. I find that keeping myself hyper-organized with lists, calendars, alarms and e-Mail reminders allows me to get the most done, but this wasn’t always the case. I was always someone who used lists, but I wasn’t using them correctly, I’m sure you’re thinking “A list is a simple thing, how could you possibly get it wrong?” and I will tell you. I was making it impossible for myself to finish my lists, they were too long, each item was too broad and each day I found myself frustrated and upset with myself because I wasn’t done with the amount of things I had put on my list, the amount of activities I had told myself I could do. I learned that organization is more than seeming organized, it’s detail that makes sense and is applicable to your daily life. Maybe I should write a whole blog about lists, but this is the gist of it:
- Don’t write things like “morning routine” because this is too broad, instead, add “get dressed”, “brush teeth”, “have breakfast”, etc. This will help you feel accomplished as you tick off each item. I understand not everyone needs a detailed to-do list about their mornings, but this is just an example everyone can relate to. Try to apply it at work with e-Mails, meetings, and even breaks.
Add due dates/times
- Some activities have the same time each day, for example, I always have a coffee break at 3:00 PM, so I add it at 3:00PM, that one is easy, but not all activities are like that. You know better than anyone, even your boss, what a realistic timeline is for what you have to do. For example: answer e-mails until 10:30 AM, then move on to another activity and come back to finish e-Mails when you can. Or perhaps e-Mails are crucial so you answer them all and move the next activity to later.
- Be flexible (things happen, printers break, people call at inopportune times, you miss the subway, be okay with accommodating a delay and understand it’s consequences, namely not finishing every item on your list.)
At the end of the day, look at your list and rewrite it as follows:
- Most important things that didn’t get done on the very top
- Things to get done the next day in the middle
- Activities you realize don’t quite matter at the very end
Jon’s way is great…if you’re a single man with all the time and patience in the world, but a lot of us, specially fathers know that organization takes a huge amount of time, and that’s a luxury we don’t have if we want to spend time with our families, this is not to say we’re not organized, but it is to say that there are different ways to organize. This is what my desk looks like at home:
I have kids who do homework on the computer, who bring me their drawings, who sometimes sit there only to be like me, and a wife that seems to think that online shopping on the computer is much easier than on her tablet, so her notes are all over the desk too. Years ago, this would have driven me crazy, but now this is home, this life and I wouldn’t have it any other way, I know where everything is, even in this chaos, and when I don’t, I don’t freak out because everything has a backup, every bill is scanned and placed in a folder, every report is saved on the cloud, every single song is on at least two iPods (yes, I still have iPods) and there’s a backup of the computer done every Friday. Organization doesn’t have to look perfect as long as you know where everything is when the boss asks for it…of course, it helps that I’m the boss. At work, not at home, my wife is the boss at home and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She reads these articles.
I’m organized on the computer, I make sure everything has a folder, each file is titled with the topic and date and the extensions are always visible, and everything is tagged whether it’s personal, work, travel, or other. That said, I find no pleasure at all in organizing my desk, I don’t like paper and I don’t understand taking notes by hand only to type them later. I like my computer, I like my multiple screens, I like being able to work with the lights off (yes, I know it’s bad for my eyes, I already wear glasses), leave me alone. Anyhow, my point is that I don’t understand who needs more than a computer and maybe a cellphone on their desk.
Desks? Who needs a desk? What I need is social media content, I need to be out and about, vlogging, posting, taking perfect bites of cookies for instagram and buying horribly colored Starbucks drinks with misspelled names. That said, I do have a desk because it’s apparently what people do, they become successful and immediately they have an office with a desk. I don’t get it, it’s like I woke up one day and I had this urge, this need that extended to every part of my being to go to Ikea…so I did, enjoyed the meatballs and the chocolate cake and the endless coffee and I bought a desk. Now I have a desk. How do I keep it organized? Okay, I’m going to be honest: I dust it once a week. That’s it. Sometimes I take pictures of it with Lemon Pledge on it and tag Consuelo on it, and if you don’t know who Consuelo is, you really need to watch more YouTube compilations.