Minimalism at Work

You may not always think to put these words together – minimalism and work – but it’s exactly what I strive for everyday.

It’s true, I can’t abide doing more than I have to in order to get the job done. That’s not because I like doing as little as possible. No, we’re talking about eliminating the unnecessary, the excess.

That’s what I want for you, too. So listen up (or eyes down), and we can work out what needs to be done to find minimalism at work.

How to Introduce Minimalism to Your Work

Reducing Workspace Clutter

This is probably the first thing that is thought of when it comes to creating minimalism at work. You’ve probably even heard the phrase “tidy desk, tidy mind” and for many this really does ring true.

This doesn’t mean it has to be completely clear – anything that contributes to your inspiration at work and motivates you is a good thing. Pictures of family, a pot plant,  or a model of a camper van you’ll buy when you retire early and go globe trotting can all still be there.

Bear these rules in mind:

  • Make sure everything has a place of it’s own. Whether your workspace is a desk or a work bench, having a spot for your each of your tools let’s you know when something is missing and allows you to be fully prepared for the day.
  • Go digital where you can – do you really need to print out that document even though you know it is still in draft? Can you email invoices to your customers instead of providing a paper version? Is there a digital version of your trade magazine that you can subscribe to?
  • Prepare your space at the end of the day. Close down your PC or laptop, return tools to the dedicated spot, maybe even give the space a wipe down and always take away your dirty cups.

Remember, each individual has a different idea of what clutter is. As long as what you have in your workspace is what matters and has a purpose related to the job that will be done there, it can be as messy as you like.

Automating Processes

This is one of my favourite ways to minimise. If there is a quicker way to do something, I’m in.

Having worked in offices for most of my working life, I’ve constantly been amazed by how many people don’t choose to automate even the simplest things – like creating a document in Excel and choosing to sum a list of numbers on a calculator instead of using the auto sum formula. They may as well have done it in Word.

Be careful here though: don’t automate a process if it actually could be eliminated altogether.

Sticking to a Schedule

You see, minimalism isn’t always about technology and decluttering things. Sometimes it is just about freedom in your time. That’s why sticking to a schedule is ultra important for creating a minimalist working life.

  • Always arrive on time for your own meetings – if you aren’t committed to your own meeting don’t expect others to care much about it
  • Always ensure that you have enough time to cover the agenda and only leave a small amount of time for any other business – anything considered important should have been listed in the agenda.
  • Finish meetings on time. It encourages people to attend your meetings if they can be certain that they don’t overrun. Sure, they could leave but many people don’t like to. When everyone knows they are going to get to their next appointment on time it makes for less clock watching and more attention to the matters at hand.
  • Don’t commit to things that aren’t a priority to you. If you think something might become a priority, ask to be kept in the loop but don’t dedicate time you don’t have

Yes, urgent things come up, but having a discipline around keeping to dedicated time slots might actually give you the option of scheduling flex time that can be used for emergencies.

In addition, understanding your priorities means that urgent issues become less frequent.

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Until next time, remember, if the excess baggage is weighing you down, you can always leave it in lost luggage.

Best wishes,

PS. Have you taken part in the poll yet? Find it in the sidebar or below this post.

I’d love to hear your story, so start a conversation on Facebook, catch up with me on Twitter and Instagram, or drop me an email via the contacts page.

Ear Worm: We Can Work It Out, The Beatles

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