Manage your environment

Minimize distractions in the specific place where you work. There is never a perfect place to work, but distractions can be minimized.

Have a regular place for the tasks that you do alone (in the workplace or at home). Our minds associate places with certain thoughts and activities so it is easier to focus when you have a regular place. Avoid other activities in this place so that your mind will not be ‘polluted’ by other associations.

If you have a large office, do your own work in a quiet corner. Meet people around a table or seated in a lounge. If you have a small office, reserve the office for your own work – meet people in a conference room. This was the norm among my colleagues at McKinsey.

Avoid having to hunt for things. Have a habit of ‘A place for everything, everything in its place’. This habit saves you time hunting for things, saves you money buying things that you thought you don’t have or might have lost, and you the avoid stress of not finding things. Apply this not only in the workplace but also at home (e.g. kitchen, home office, clothes). Have a consistent filing system for documents.

Example: A well-organized lawyer has the usual filing system but also arranged files on her desktop by the date that they needed action. Keep things in digital format where possible – it is easier to search electronically. Use clipboards for high priority items. This is like the clipboard that hospitals put at the foot of each patient’s bed to keep track of medical observations and instructions. I use these clipboards to keep track of payments, notes for my writing, and key telephone numbers in large type.

Use computerized or electronic organisers. Also, have pen and paper to jot down ideas. However, this is only a supporting technique – some people think this is everything there is to being creative.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s