Your environment, the space around you, has a clear impact on your thinking, your calmness, your efficiency. If things aren’t where you need them you have to work harder to achieve the same. It’s difficult to feel in control with a full inbox, an overflowing desk, and files and notebooks crammed with unsorted projects, plans, worries and commitments.
Physical space is crucial to good organisation. So is mental space. You don’t want things buzzing around your brain that don’t belong, that are better stored somewhere else, or that are past their sell-by date.
- Being organised is not the same as neat and tidy. It’s a practical matter. Are things where you need them? You need the right papers for the meeting. You need your front door keys where you can find them when you are standing on the doorstep. You need to know where the receipts for your expense claims are. None of these have to be prettily arranged. Neat and tidy is just individual aesthetics, and one person’s cool minimalism is another’s soulless void.
- Seek out the best tools for the job. That usually means ones that perform well, and that you take a pleasure in using. The second element is about personal choice. The first is something you can watch out and take advice on. It’s as big a mistake not to learn to use a well-designed gadget as it is to adopt every one that the tech industry invents.
- Get to love the word recreation. Think about what it means, literally. Re-creation. To make yourself again. It’s all about getting back the person you used to be – before all the work stuff squashed it out of you. Re-create yourself.
- Find the form of recreation that suits you. Knitting, meditation, fishing, mountain biking, yoga, dance, music …are all potential ways of relaxing and getting back to yourself. The art is to find what works for you, what you enjoy and look forward to doing. Try new things, but don’t let anyone persuade you that what’s good for them is necessarily going to be good for you.
- Consider a sabbatical. Such serious chunks of space are generally associated with academics. But they’re not unknown in other fields. Even if it seems an unattainable dream to leave your regular work behind and focus on some new challenge, there’s benefit from just planning one. If you had six months off, what would you do?