When I was a child I vividly remember the toy room that my sister and I just adored. We shared a bedroom and our parents set up the other bedroom as an amazing toy room, somewhere we could play, let our imaginations run wild and create our own little world with friends. I can still see the room so clearly, a little timber table with bench seats in the centre, a blackboard to the left corner, a shelving unit with all our art supplies to the right and a dolls house to the left. The room was painted lemon with a matching blind that filtered in the sun making it a magical place to be.
What stands out to me now was how the room was compartmentalised with a location for each activity. If we were drawing or painting we sat at the table, if we were playing with dolls we would scrounge through the chest of dolls near the dollhouse and if we played schools (guess who was the teacher?) we were always in the corner where the blackboard was. Each task had its place with everything we needed ready to use, create or play within that space.
It worked well and only over the last few years I have a realised I set my day up for success in my shared office and home office the same way. In my practice if I break it down to the basics my work goes across 4 key areas: Think/Create, Sell, Deliver and “stuff” as I frame it. In my world, I like to do each of those functions in different places and this has always served me well as far as focus, quality and efficiency. This may not be for everyone but being an alternative thinker, highly creative and super organised this is the way I roll and it works for me.
Last week I was mentoring a senior leader around productivity and efficiency. I shared my office set up with him and the way I categorise tasks and resources in different locations. This discussion is what led me to write this blog. Keep in mind this was a subconscious thing until now and something I just did!
Think and Create
In my practice, I actually cluster my tasks within each week and allocate time to thinking and creating. I block this out and jealously protect this time, as it is such an important element of my thought leadership. “Thinking” for me relates to creating new IP, writing blogs such as this and reading and writing books and articles.
I have an L shaped desk in my office and allocate the front space to thinking time. From here I have a view of an amazing 60-year-old tree and lots of natural light. Here I keep the space totally uncluttered so I am free to think, I have access to my books in a cubed unit behind this space and also a whiteboard and large notepad. If I’m working from home I sometimes sit in the courtyard and do this as I find it elevates my thinking. When on the run between clients I get a lot of thinking done in cafes and when writing my book I joined a few libraries and used this space only to write my book.
The other part of thinking, for me, is around designing workshops based on my IP and I do this usually on my PC utilising a monitor that is at the centre of my desk.
In this category, I cluster admin and anything else that doesn’t fall into the other areas. I do this at the centre of my desk and tasks include invoicing, emails, liaising with my Client Services Manager, updating my CRM, managing my diary and so on. This area usually relies on systems so a lot is done via my trusty laptop. Tasks I complete here are quite process-driven in nature.
For me, this involves tasks such as making phone calls, updating my sales pipeline and liaising with clients over the phone or Skype, unless I see them face-to-face. I spend a lot of time here designing proposals based on clients needs. I tend to do this at a separate table in my office where I sometimes meet clients. I always keep this table clear and I find in this space I have a clear head, my notes and PC and therefore clear space to focus and be present to my client and my solution for them.
This area for me is usually face to face with my clients. An example could be when delivering workshop or coaching programs or speaking at an event. As of last year, I have started doing a lot of coaching and mentoring virtually by phone and Skype and I do this at the same table as where I do my selling so I am fully immersed and at service to whomever I am working with.
If you look at how this works it’s fairly simple. Categorise your key work functions and resources into different physical locations, this is sometimes referred to as being spatially mobile. My office isn’t large; you don’t need the massive corporate suite or 3 rooms at home to create an office. Find what works for you, change it up until it does and maximise your self-management and focus to achieve your goals and have a bit of fun along the way. I would love to hear from anyone else doing this and your experiences and tips along the way.
Have a fantastic February!
Renée has published her first book “Limitless Leadership” – A guide to leading from the inside out.
Renée Giarrusso is an accomplished author, facilitator, speaker, trainer and coach who works with high performing leaders and their teams across a myriad of industries and organisations.
She passionately helps leaders fulfil their full potential resulting in increased motivation, communication and connection. Her expertise in growing and developing capability and behavioural change around leadership, communication, transition, presenting and sales effectiveness leave her clients inspired, re-energised and with improved results.
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