How to De-Clutter Your Team Workspace (Part 1 of 2)

Part 1: Simplify Your Work-Space

Every now and then I realize that my office looks like a disaster zone.  It happens gradually, until one day I look up and think – how did this happen?  And, I feel cluttered and stressed and overwhelmed.  At some point, I decide, today is the day and I clean, purge and organize… and wow it feels so much better afterward.  I feel lighter, calmer, and more energized.

This got me thinking… how can we apply this process to our teams?  Certainly, teams get “cluttered” too – both figuratively and metaphorically.  So, I came up with some ideas of how you can begin to de-clutter your team.

A book I read many years ago called The Sidetracked Home Executive was both inspirational and very helpful to me in cleaning and organizing my house before a move.  One of the methods in the book, which still resonates with me today, is to start at the front door of your house and move clockwise, choosing one small area to clean and de-clutter at a time.  The secret is to choose a small enough area that you can completely finish the job in 30 minutes.  Each day, you keep moving clockwise around your home until the entire floor is clean and de-cluttered.  For me, the first thing I came to was my coat closet.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to know that my coat closet was cleaned out.  It motivated me to keep going until my entire house was organized and clean.

So, how can you apply this to your team?  I’ll give you some ideas to get started, but the sky is the limit.

This blog includes one of two methods to spring clean your team – first, clean your physical workspace.

Below are some recommended steps to clean out your team’s workspace:

  1. Choose one workspace to begin – either your work area or perhaps a conference room or break area. Start at the entrance.  Move around that area cleaning one small section at a time.  Look at everything in that area from the floor to the ceiling.  Every item from pictures, to posters to supplies, should be removed from that one small area.  Then decide:
    • Keep it – think hard here, we are tempted to hang on to things we don’t really need.
    • Trash/Recycle it – if nobody can use it, just get rid of it.
    • Donate or sell it – if it is of value to someone, give it away or sell it.
  2. Once everything is removed, thoroughly scrub the area and return only the “keep it”, the rest goes in the trash or gets donated.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the entire areas are cleaned and de-cluttered.
  4. Stand in the entrance and relish it, then make sure to maintain it.
  5. Move to another work area and continue the process until all work areas are complete

In the next blog, I’ll give you some ideas about how to de-clutter your team’s workload so you can release the less important and impactful activities and make time for the ones that matter the most.

About the Author:Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field, Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are highly productive and positive. Learn about her Better Teams Model and Team Assessment here.

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