I’ve been hosting the Productivity & Organizing Blog Carnival (formerly Professional Organizers Blog Carnival) on Your Organizing Business every month since June 2009. This month, the topic is The Organizing / Productivity Expert’s Office.
While reading some of the posts my readers submitted, I remembered writing something similar in the past. It was no longer online, but I found a copy which I’m sharing with you today, along with some updates.
Here’s my original post from 2007, when I was a professional organizer/virtual assistant.
The Organized Assistant’s Desks
Professional Organizers Monica Ricci and Ariane Benefit have recently posted pictures of their desks on their blogs and challenged their readers to do the same, so here are mine.
The first one is obviously my computer workstation, and there’s rarely anything on it other than a cup of coffee or a piece of paper or two related to what I’m working on at the moment, because there just isn’t room for anything else. I realize a bigger workstation might have been more efficient, but I had the big desk in the second photo long before I even thought of starting my own business, and I can’t bear to part with it.
Other than the phone/fax machine and two-tier tray in the corner (top is my inbox, bottom is stuff to be filed), nearly everything on my desk was a gift, or contained a gift at one time. For example:
- small wooden chest – came with small jars of jam in it – now holds small items such as stamps, tape, white-out, and so on – from a friend
- coffee mug with picture of a cat on it holds pens, pencils, scissors, etc. – from my husband (there is a crack in it, so can’t be used for beverages any more)
- leather file holder came with chocolate and other goodies and was a gift on my recent birthday from my nephew and his wife
I tidied up a little bit before taking the pictures, but not much. This is pretty typical for me. During the day whatever file I am working on will be on my desk, but when I’m done with it, it will either go back in the file holder (if there is still work to be done on that project), in my desk drawer (if I expect to work on that file again in the near future), or in my filing cabinet (if I don’t expect to work on it again any time soon).
I developed the habit of clearing off my desk at the end of each day nearly 20 years ago, when I worked for Effem Foods (Mars Candy Company), and it’s a strategy I often recommend to my organizing clients and in my organizing presentations.
And here’s what my office is like today.
Janet Barclay, Web Designer’s Office
As you can see, I still have the big old desk, as well as the three gift items I mentioned in the older post, and quite a few other things. I can hardly believe I’ve had them that long! The fax machine has been gone since we got rid of the landline in 2016. The two-tier tray is also gone, since I no longer have enough paper to need it.
The separate computer desk hasn’t been needed since I switched to a laptop in the late 2000s, and is now Scott’s workstation. I have my laptop connected to a 24″ monitor so I can have two screens open at once – if you’ve never tried this, you wouldn’t believe how much more productive you can be when you don’t have to keep switching back and forth from one window to another. Beyond that is my photo scanner, which I bought not too long ago (and immediately fell in love with) when the scanner in my multi-function printer (barely shows at the left of the current photo; replaced the separate printer and scanner a number of years ago) stopped playing nicely with my computer.
The black binder in the older photo was where I kept track of my projects. Now I keep most of my notes in OneNote. I didn’t clear my desk for the current photo, so you can see that I still use paper – the blue notebook is for taking notes during phone calls, the steno pad is to keep track of what I’ve done on various projects, and the sheet of paper is a six-month calendar where I plot out what I’ll be working on in the weeks and months to come.
Overall, I’d say my “web designer‘s office” isn’t very different than my “professional organizer/virtual assistant’s” office was 13 years ago!
How has your workspace evolved over the years?
All photos © Janet Barclay