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Boost your creativity, be more productive

Boost your creativity, be more productive

We’re all constantly chasing productivity. Micro organising our lives so that every single second counts, downloading apps to make our lives easier, writing lists, hitting targets and setting reminders so that our lives run like well-oiled machines. Time means money in business, so on paper, creativity is the enemy to efficiency.

Creativity means spontaneity, chaos, experimentation and relaxation. It requires you to sit back and observe the race, rather than constantly trying to win it. For me though, creativity is crucial to success. Here are five easy ways to boost your creativity and be more productive in the workplace:

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1. Clear your head

There’s no set formula for this. Everyone’s mind is different so it needs different treatment. I like to surf or meditate. Getting out of the office for even ten minutes a day can give you the space you need to readjust and find a new perspective. If you can’t escape, meditation is great because you can do it anywhere. Like anything, it takes practise and you have to be strict with it, but if all you take from it is a break from looking at your emails, you will still have benefitted. The clearer your head is the easier you’ll find it to think creatively and focus. It will put you in a better mood for the rest of the day and increase your ability to make decisions.

2. Concentrate on your happiness

Happier people make better employees. It’s a fact. When you’re feeling more positive about a task, you’re usually more dedicated and imaginative in your approach. Of course, there’s no easy answer to being happy, but it should be one of your top priorities. Set time aside every day to do something you love, whether that’s running, reading a book, spending time with your family or watching TV. Make your work fun when you can and never take yourself too seriously.

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3. Be lazy

Working without taking breaks is dangerous to your physical wellbeing, but it also affects the way you think. As the day drags on you loose enthusiasm and passion for what you’re doing, get confused, frustrated and usually end up completing very little. Free time is the fuel for productivity and creativity. It doesn’t really matter what you do with it, but you have to completely switch off to properly replenish your brain’s motivation. That means no emails, no smart phones and no tablets. On holiday, I swap my iPhone for an old Nokia to make sure I’m not even tempted to check my inbox, but it means that my office could still reach me in an emergency.

4. Brainstorm, talk and read

Exchanging ideas with colleagues and friends opens up new perspectives and elevates your work to a new level. Talk and listen to everyone you can; read articles, books, blogs or even comics, anything that will inspire you and alter your perspectives. I recommend joining a business group or finding a mentor so that you can focus your discussions and gain advice from people you admire; remember that it’s just as important to talk non-business and let your brain be consumed by something else for a while.

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5. Think about your space

Whether you like it or not, your office is a place you’re going to be a lot. It could be a desk, a room in a high rise building or your kitchen, wherever it is, make it a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. I work at a standing up desk, which makes me feel more energetic and dynamic, especially when I’m on sales calls, but it could be as simple as putting a framed picture of your family on your desk or a potted plant.

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Ricketts via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Richard Walton

Founder of AVirtual

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Last Updated on September 18, 2019

15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

1. Purge Your Office

De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

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Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

2. Gather and Redistribute

Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

3. Establish Work “Zones”

Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

4. Close Proximity

Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

5. Get a Good Labeler

Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

6. Revise Your Filing System

As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

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What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

  • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
  • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
  • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
  • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
  • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
  • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
  • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

7. Clear off Your Desk

Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

8. Organize your Desktop

Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

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Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

9. Organize Your Drawers

Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

10. Separate Inboxes

If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

11. Clear Your Piles

Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

12. Sort Mails

Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

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13. Assign Discard Dates

You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

14. Filter Your Emails

Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

15. Straighten Your Desk

At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

Bottom Line

Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

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Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

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